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Halloween Spending Expected to Rise: NRF

The percentage of Americans planning to participate in Halloween activities at its highest level in the 10 years of the study’s existence.

Growing enthusiasm among Americans for Halloween celebrations might not translate into higher sales of dresses and jeans, but it’s having an uplifting effect on the market for costumes.

A survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGinsight showed the percentage of Americans planning to participate in Halloween activities at its highest level in the 10 years of the study’s existence — rising to 71.5 percent from 68.6 percent in 2011 and just 52.5 percent in 2005. Among the 9,393 adults queried, 45 percent said they would dress in costume for this year’s holiday, up from 43.9 percent in 2011 and 31.5 percent in 2005. Seven years ago, just over a quarter — 25.2 percent — said they expected to host or attend a Halloween party, a number that rose to 36.2 percent in this year’s survey.

NRF said Halloween spending by Americans 18 or older should reach $8 billion this year, up from about $6.86 billion last year. Based on consumers’ responses, overall spending on costumes is projected to rise to $2.87 billion from $2.52 billion, on candy to $2.33 billion from $2 billion, on decorations to $2.36 billion from $1.88 billion and on greeting cards to $590 million from $470 million. Within the costumes category, spending on costumes for pets is seen rising to about $370 million from $310 million last year.

“Almost as soon as people bring down their fall and winter apparel from the top shelves in their closets, Halloween becomes top of mind,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president, strategic initiatives, at BIGinsight. “There’s certainly pent-up demand for having some fun this year and shoppers are planning to spend their hard-earned dollars on items that help them get into the Halloween spirit.”

NRF noted that anxiety about the economy was less apparent and less likely to affect sales than it did a year ago. The percentage of respondents who said the state of the U.S. economy would affect their Halloween plans dropped to 25.9 percent this year from 32.1 percent a year ago. Of those indicating they’d be affected by economic concerns, the percentage who said they’d spend less overall declined to 83.5 percent from 87.1 percent last year, while 36.1 percent said they’d buy less candy, below last year’s 40.2 percent response. The share who intend to reuse last year’s costumes rather than purchase new ones fell to 16.2 percent from 16.6 percent.

The percentage of respondents who expect to hand out candy registered at 75.7 percent, versus 74.3 percent in 2005. Just less than one in three — 33.2 percent — expect to take children trick-or-treating this year versus 31.8 percent who indicated they planned to do so in 2005.