Americans Planned to Spend $9 Billion on Halloween

They did the monster cash

A princess, a police officer, and a zombie cowboy bang on every door in town, scaring grown-ups and demanding candy. Pretty spooky! But the scariest part about Halloween might be how much money people spend on it.

Based on the National Retail Foundation’s (NRF’s) annual survey, 175 million Americans intended to participate in Halloween festivities this year. In total, they planned to spend about $9 billion — or $87 per person.

According to the survey, 68 percent of Halloween shoppers planned to spend $3.2 billion on costumes (roughly $27 per person). Some costumes, however, like the $4,000 “Human Hedge,” may have brought up the average for everyone else. Nearly 20 percent of people celebrating Halloween said they planned to dress up their pets (“Who’s a good little zombie doggie?!”.

It was a graveyard (decorating) smash

NRF’s survey respondents said they would spend about $2.7 billion on decorations. Another survey reported that consumers spend $575 million on pumpkins alone.

Here are a few examples from around the country of people who — charmingly, eccentrically — got really into Halloween this year:

Twitter user Sami Campagnano documented the Halloween rituals of her neighbors. Each day, they rearranged skeleton decorations in their yard to act out a different scene. Among their many activities, the skeletons gardened, exercised, and hung Christmas lights. One picture shows a skeleton Dorothy walking down the Yellow Brick Road.

Sharon Clute and her daughter spent about $3,000 decorating their Cambridge, Massachusetts property as a horrifying “Killer Doll House.”

Illinois resident Alan Atkinson packs his yard with Halloween decorations each year, estimating that he spends $500 to $600 annually on new décor.  “When [the kids] come to trick-or-treat and their eyes are so big — they want the candy,” Atkinson told his local news station. “And they’re looking at everything that moves. It’s just wonderful.” Sometimes he pretends to be one of the dummies in his yard, he said, occasionally jumping out to elicit a shriek and a laugh.

They caught cavities in a flash

Halloween tricks may be free, but its treats are not. Americans estimated they would spend about $2.6 billion on nightmarish — from a dental perspective — confections. The most popular type of Halloween candy varies from state to state: Oregonians and Texans love Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, Californians love Skittles, and New Englanders love Sour Patch Kids. Some states, like Michigan and Nevada, even prefer candy corn, which, according to one survey, was edged out by Circus Peanuts this year as America’s least favorite candy.

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