Big Plans for a Big Halloween

So what sort of spooky Halloween costume do you have in mind for this year?

A frightful mortgage banker? A creepy dollar?

Whatever your plans, Halloween is predicted to be this year's bright spot in the business world.

Industry trade group the National Retail Federation expects retail sales in November and December to increase a meager 2.2 percent - the weakest growth since 2002 - but the group also found that more people this year plan to celebrate and spend more on Halloween.

The average person plans to spend $66.54 on the holiday, up $64.82 a year ago while 64.5 percent plan to celebrate the day versus last year's 58.7 percent.

"Consumers, who have been anxious and uncertain for the past several months, may be looking at Halloween as an opportunity to forget the stresses of daily life and just have a little fun," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin.

Total Halloween spending for 2008 is estimated to be nearly $6 billion. It also helps that Halloween is on a Friday this year, so many people are planning to celebrate through the weekend. This year a consumer will spend an average of $24.17 on Halloween costumes for adults, children and pets, $20.39 on candy, $18.25 on decorations and $3.73 on greeting cards. Young adults spend the most on Halloween. A member of the 18-24 year old set expects to spend an average of $86.59 on the holiday, according to the study (pdf) conducted by BIGresearch for the NRF.

The holiday can be a boon for many small firms. In 2004 data culled from the U.S. Census Bureau released last year, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council found that almost 100 percent of the nation's costume and formal wear rental shops had fewer than 500 employees. Eight nine percent of the total, or 1,025 small businesses, had fewer than 20 workers.

The NRF findings echo its Halloween data from 2002 when consumers were also spooked by the economy and saw the holiday as a way to escape from the uncertainties of daily life.

By Sharon McLoone |  October 13, 2008; 2:06 PM ET Data Points
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Some online shopping sites make it a lot easier to stretch the Halloween dollar, I highly recommend this one:

Posted by: CapedCrusader | October 14, 2008 10:28 AM

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