Halloween brings treats for everyone. But if you're not careful, you'll find a big trick in November's credit card bill.
With the Christmas holiday gift-giving season fast approaching, you might not think of Halloween as being particularly significant. As it turns out, however, Halloween means big business for retailers.
Shelling out for everything
According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween sales are expected to top $5 billion for the first time this year. Among those the NRF surveyed, shoppers plan to spend an average of over $64 for the October holiday.
While candy is a perennial Halloween favorite, people actually spend more on costumes -- an average of $23, versus just under $20 for candy. Add in another $18 or so for decorations, and you're quickly talking about money that deserves its own line item in your budget.
Another threat to treat-sellers: the health craze. Hershey
As long as kids go door to door in neighborhoods, candy is likely to stay popular. Even if people are buying healthy for themselves, no self-respecting homeowner is going to take the chance of giving out yogurt-covered fruit bars for Halloween. All you have to do is think back to what happens to houses where kids got bad treats.
The view from the dental chair
From seeing the results of all that sugar, doctors and dentists have strong opinions about Halloween. Some suggest feeding your kids a big meal before going out trick-or-treating in order to forestall the brunt of gorging candy. Others say those taffy apples and hard candy are OK as long as you have good dental hygiene. And at least one column takes the practical approach, saying it's better to let kids get their sugar binge out of their system all at once than to let them get into the habit of having a piece or two of candy every day.
No matter how you decide to celebrate Halloween, keep an eye on your wallet. As challenging as it is to keep holiday shopping under control, the last thing you want to do is to start out on the wrong foot. Figure out what you can really afford to spend and then stick to your budget. That way, you'll make sure that your Halloween treats don't turn into a tricky financial crisis.
Check out these articles to learn more about:
Don't let your finances frighten you. Our personal finance newsletter, Motley Fool Green Light, will keep the ghosts and goblins at bay. Green Light's get-it-done approach is ghoulishly effective at putting hundreds of dollars back in your pocket every month. Try it out for 30 days with no obligation, and let Green Lightscare up some savings for you.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger loves Canadian chocolate bars but hasn't come up with a good costume idea in years. He doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool's disclosure policy respects the law.