Halloween has become a holiday for the masses, retailers are happy to say, with more Americans than ever planning this year to decorate homes, dress up, attend or throw a party or take kids trick or treating.
A consumer spending survey done for the National Retail Federation shows a record 170 million people, seven in 10 Americans, plan to celebrate in some way. The average consumer will spend nearly $80 on decorations, costumes and candy, bumping up total Halloween spending this year to $8 billion, the trade group's survey shows.
"By the time Halloween rolls around each year it's safe to say Americans have already spent two months preparing for one of the fastest-growing and most widely-loved holidays of the year," Matthew Shay, NRF's president and chief executive, said in a release. "We expect retailers to stock their shelves well ahead of time."
And many already have, if local drugstores and costume shops are any indication.
The NRF survey, conducted by BIGinsight, shows more than a third of shoppers seek inspiration for costumes on retailers' shelves. Others (about 15 percent) plan to check out Facebook.
"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," said Phil Rist, executive vice president for strategic initiatives for BIGinsight.
Of those planning to celebrate, more than half will decorate their home or yard, 45 percent will dress up, more than a third will throw or attend a party and a third will take kids trick or treating. Then there's the 15 percent who will dress up their dogs and cats.
Even with the record spending projections, many consumers are trying to control their spending. The survey showed that 18 percent will make their costumes. And more than one third plan to buy less candy.