Sep. 25, 2012 at 12:48 PM ET
If the pirates look more menacing, the porch decorations more extravagant, and the sexy costumes for poodles a little sexier, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. Consumer spending this Halloween is set to reach $8 billion, a 10-year record high, according to a new survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Americans are creaking open their wallets a little more this year, saying they're planning on spending on average $79.82 on costumes, decorations, and candy. That's up from $72.31 last year, and $66.28 the year prior. More will be joining in the trick or treating and Halloween party-going and throwing, too, with participation up to 71.5 percent from 68.6 percent last year.
Driving the trend: Adults. That's right, Halloween isn't just for kids any more. The greatest increase in costume spending comes from adults on their own costumes, up $200 million, while family spending on costumes for kids is only up $100 million.
Dropping more in a down economy might sound foolhardy, but Halloween is one holiday where you can get more boo for your buck. Individuals on average spend an average of over $100 on both Valentine's and Easter, and over $150 on Mother's Day. The key events of those holidays might last for just a few hours, while the fun of Halloween can go all day and night. Then there's the buildup and preparation, the post-Halloween night story-sharing, and those visits to the trick or treat bag, which, depending on your discipline, can go for weeks (or days, or hours...)
Ultimately it's as simple as the pleasure in pretending to be someone - or something - else for an evening. “Halloween for consumers has really become a form of escapism,” Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director for BigInsight, told NBC News. “We're forgetting about the economy for the night.”
Goodfellow, whose firm conducted the research for the NRF, said that Americans have gotten their finances in shape in the past few years and are deploying their dollars more strategically. “We're waiting for these targeted times to relax a little,” she said.
However, it's not all candied apples. One quarter of those surveyed said the economy will make them spend less. 18 percent plan on making a costume instead of buying and 36.1 percent will buy less candy.
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