Personal Finance

Instagram drives massive Halloween spending

Key Points
  • More than any other holiday, Halloween is particularly well-suited for the digital age.
  • In the days leading up to Oct. 31, nearly half of millennials admitted making Halloween purchases strictly for the social media posts, according to one report.
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4 cheap and easy last-minute halloween costumes

If Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday, Halloween was made for Instagram.

When it comes to spending, nearly half, or 48%, of millennials said they purchased items strictly for the social media posts, compared to less than a third of those in Generation X, according to a new report from CompareCards by LendingTree.

About 4 in 10 millennials said they felt "a lot" of pressure to spend on Halloween and nearly one-third admitted to spending more on Halloween than any other holiday.

"It's not even necessarily about having a great time; it's about looking like you are having a great time," said Matt Schulz, the chief industry analyst at CompareCards.

Leading up to Oct. 31, shoppers will spend about $86, on average, down just slightly from last year's record high, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey.

Costume spending, however, continues to rise, even as spending on Skittles, Twix and peanut butter cups declines.

Whether they're disguised as Eleven from "Stranger Things" or Pinkfong's "Baby Shark," the survey also found that a near-record number of adults, or 47%, plan to dress up this year. (Pets are also getting in on the action.)

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All in, revelers will shell out roughly $8.8 billion in total on the spooky season — the third-highest in the NRF survey's 15-year history — down from last year's $9 billion.

That amounts to about $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.6 billion on candy, $2.7 billion on decorations and $390 million on greeting cards, the NRF found.

"Spending hasn't changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, in a statement.

The NRF polled more than 7,400 consumers in September.

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Key Points
  • Between buying gifts, booking travel and attending holiday parties, there are plenty of ways to splurge in the months ahead.
  • Americans are already in the red.
  • Here are some steps you can take to ensure you don't end up even deeper in debt.