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Halloween Spending Is Out Of Control

Poll QuestionThe amount of money Americans spend on Halloween is frightening.

The 2013 total is expected to reach an estimated $6.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween Spending Survey.

That comes out to an average of $75 for each of the 158 million who will celebrate.

People obviously lean more toward the treats than the tricks.

Candy alone accounts for about $2.08 billion. We get that – after all, Halloween is all about children dressing up in costumes, ringing their neighbors’ doorbells and accumulating enough small candy bars to last until the end of the year.

Or the end of the week. No judging.

And costumes aren’t a surprising part of the mix either, except that more will be spent on adults’ costumes ($1.2 billion) than kids’ (about $1 billion).

The survey revealed that the average person will spend $27.85 on a costume this year, which is just a tad less than last Halloween’s $28.65. Figuring out what to dress up as will take considerable research in stores and online at sites like Facebook and Pinterest.

(Anyone else long for the days of ghost costumes made from old bed sheets? Plastic spaceman capes with a complementing eye- and mouth-holed mask held on with an elastic band around the back of the head? Hobos carrying a bandana attached to stick?)

Here’s what we don’t get:

  • $1.96 billion spent on decorations. Seems a simple carved pumpkin and a lit candle no longer cut it, given that 47% of the 5,290 people polled planned to decorate their homes and yards with fake cobwebs, skeletons, tombstones and the like.
  • $330 million for pet costumes. That’s right, 22 million will dress up their dogs and cats.
  • $360 million on greeting cards. Greeting cards? Say what?

Sorry, but there are better ways to spend your hard-earned cash.

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This Halloween, I plan to spend:
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