Consumers' Halloween Spending Not Scary for Retailers


Halloween holiday consumers plan on spending more this year than last for getting their trick or treat on.

According to the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, they estimate that the average consumer will spend $64.82 on the cavity-creating holiday compared with $59.06 one year ago. Total Halloween spending for 2007 is estimated to reach $5.07 billion.

Amid the looming specter of housing and oil woes, consumer spending on holidays such as Halloween "should give retailers a nice boost in sales as they open the crucial fourth quarter" says Tracy Mullin, President and CEO of NRF. "This is the time of year that retailers are at their best, stocking the shelves with new and innovative product to help consumers celebrate in style."

And celebrate they will. Of the 8,877 people surveyed, Halloweeners between the ages 18-24 (83.3%) represent the largest group participating in Halloween activities this year, with women (62.5%) out-celebrating men (54.7%) across all age groups.

The average adult (18+) will spend $23.33 on Halloween costumes -- including their spending on children's and pets' costumes. Adults account for the lion's share of Halloween spending at $1.82 billion. According to the survey, 18-24 year-olds plan to be the most festive, shelling out an average of $34.06 on costumes, almost twice as much as they plan to spend on candy ($19.65) and decorations ($17.73).

The survey also ranked top adult and children’s costumes. And as expected, little girls have ranked princess as their top choice for dressing up this year (10.7%).

But for those who prefer to assume the identity of their favorite pop culture icons, Steven Mandell of Costume Super says, "the hottest selling children's costumes will be for High School the musical and Hanna Montana at a very close second." Disney’s Hannah Montana, which comes in at 23rd on the list, is immediately followed by the boy wizard himself, Harry Potter.

"The big costumes this year will be Transformer's Optimus Prime, and maybe tied with that will be either Boba or Jenga Fett from Star Wars," Mandell says.

And the kids won't be the only ones enjoying the fright night action. One-third (33.8%) of adults will dress in costume this year, and of those, nearly three-quarters (74.8%) already have a costume in mind.

At Abracadabra, New York City's legendary mainstay for year-round costumes, "sexy costumes for women are a big sell," says co-owner Robert Pinzon. "It's a fantasy for them. Whether it's a pirate or a witch, it's a chance to be somebody else for a night."

The store also carries authentic-looking costumes such as Batman that feature latex and crafted plastic muscles. It retails for $1500 and rents for $450.