More Americans Planning to Spend Money on Halloween — And Pet Costumes — This Year

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Halloween spending has been one of the few spending categories to quickly bounce back from the recession. And this year, the wild spending gets even scarier.

According to the National Retail Federation, a record 170 million Americans will spend close to $8 billion on candy, pumpkins, decorations and costumes – both for them and their pets. More than 70% of people in the U.S. say they’ll celebrate Halloween this year, the most ever recorded by the NRF. The average American will spend almost $79.83 on the holiday, compared with $72.31 last year.

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Halloween spending has been on an impressively steady rise for years. While spending briefly declined by about $1 billion in 2009 at the height of the recession, it quickly recovered the following year, rising from $4.8 billion to $5.8 billion. In 2011, spending hit $6.9 billion.

Halloween has been one of the few annual events that we’re willing to shell out plenty of bucks for, almost certainly because of the escapism we feel by dressing up like Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson. We also have few qualms about dressing up our pets like Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson. Last year we spent $300 million on pet costumes alone. This year it’s projected to hit $370 million.

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All this isn’t to say that Americans will completely ignore the weak economy during the run-up to Oct. 31. According to the NRF survey, of those who say the economy will impact their Halloween plans, 83.5% of them say they’ll spend less overall than they would if the economy were healthier. But the percentage of Americans who say economic considerations are affecting their Halloween spending is slowly decreasing. Last year, 32.1% of respondents said the economy was impacting their Halloween participation. Only 25.9% say the same this year.