With the frenzy around the holiday shopping season beginning in October, Halloween gets ignored a little bit. Some retailers even downplay the spooky candy-giving holiday in favor of focusing on Christmas for a longer period of time.
Despite that, Halloween remains an important tradition for many families, with kids (and adults) continuing to dress up, go trick-or-treating, and throw parties. That means big spending -- not Christmas- or even Thanksgiving-level dollars, but still a good time for retailers.
Americans plan to spend an average of $185.50 on Halloween in 2018, according to a survey of 1,000 adults conducted by LendEDU, an online loan marketplace. That's an increase from $169.81 last year.
Where is the money being spent?
The days of buying a cheap plastic costume with a mask held on by a flimsy rubber band have long since passed. Costumes, however, are not the area where people spend the most money on Halloween. That honor goes to candy at $76.05, followed by costumes at $66.78, and decorations at $42.67, according to LendEDU.
"Whereas most Americans participate in handing out candy, and many have an active role in costume planning because of their kids, decorations are generally not as prevalent," wrote LendEDU's Mike Brown. "There are still folks out there who truly embrace the festivities and transform their dwellings into haunted houses straight out of Transylvania, but for the most part, decorations seem to be the least of the Halloween-induced priorities."
Have fun, be smart
Halloween not only offers a chance to dress up and score some candy, it also offers some buying opportunities for savvy shoppers. Candy, for example, tends to go on sale on Nov. 1, and while you won't score any candy canes or Christmas-specific goodies, you will see many candies that have year-round packaging.
You can also get deals on costumes and decorations if you're the type who plans a year ahead. Of course, you should be careful with costumes because sometimes a very clever idea one year becomes dated a year later.
As with any holiday, set a budget and stick to it. You can buy candy to hand out for a few dollars, and costumes can be created from clothing and other items you already own if you want to rein in spending. Be smart, stay safe, and be fiscally responsible as you celebrate on Oct. 31.