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Nearly two-thirds (64.5%) of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year and will spend an average of $66.54, according to the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.


These increases will drive 2008 Halloween spending to an estimated $5.8 billion, up from $5.07 billion last year, when 58.7% of consumers said they planned to celebrate Halloween and would spend $64.82 each, according to the survey.

Survey results this year are reminiscent of 2002 Halloween data, when the economy and the geopolitical climate was similarly uncertain, according the NRF. Then, the holiday was seen as a way for consumers to escape from the uncertainties of daily life and to seek relief during an otherwise tense period.

NRF expects to see some of the same patterns this year for Halloween because the number of people who plan to celebrate is up and people plan to spend moderately more than they did a year ago.

Additional findings:

  • Consumers will spend an average of $24.17 on Halloween costumes (including costumes for adults, children, and pets) in 2008. They also will be buying candy ($20.39 on average), decorations ($18.25) and greeting cards ($3.73).
  • Halloween remains most popular with young adults, as 18-24 year-olds plan to spend $86.59 on the holiday, the most of any group.


  • People will celebrate Halloween in a variety of ways, with the most popular activities including handing out candy (73.7%), carving a pumpkin (44.6%), and decorating (50.3%). Many consumers will also dress in costume (35.3%), throw or attend a party (31.1%), and take children trick-or-treating (33.6%).


“After months of bleak economic news, consumers are looking for a reason to let loose,” said Phil Rist, VP of strategy for BIGresearch. “And with Halloween falling on a Friday this year, consumers may plan to celebrate all weekend long.”

About the survey: The NRF 2008 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch and designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the Halloween season. The poll of 8,167 US consumers was conducted September 2 – 9, 2008.

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