You'll Never Believe How Much Americans Spend on Halloween

Adult women host outdoor gathering for kids in halloween costumes

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How does your Halloween spending compare?


Key points

  • Americans are spending billions on Halloween.
  • Parents spend more than childless households.
  • There are ways to cut spending, such as making homemade costumes.

When many people think of holiday spending, they think of all the purchases made for the December holidays. But, even before these end-of-the-year events arrive, a large number of Americans will end up blowing their budget enjoying another special day: Halloween.

This spooky holiday has actually led to a scary amount of spending, which could leave Americans with credit card bills that are downright terrifying. In fact, the amount of money consumers are shelling out for Halloween purchases may come as a frightening surprise.

The scary stats on Halloween spending

According to the National Retail Federation, consumer spending on Halloween-related purchases will total around $10.14 billion this year. This is the highest level of Halloween spending on record and is up significantly from the $8.05 billion people spent in 2020. The spending levels are high because the average consumer expects to shell out about $103 on candy, costumes, decorations, and cards this year. That's up $10 compared with 2020.

One big reason collective spending costs are projected to be higher this year is that more Americans plan to celebrate this October, while many opted out in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year, around 65% of people are expected to engage in Halloween-related activities, while just 58% did so in 2020. Not everyone feels comfortable getting festive regardless, though -- about 68% of people celebrated during the pre-COVID days, which is still higher than the number who will participate in activities this year.

Parents are likely to be some of the biggest drivers of this spending, as those with kids are more apt to celebrate Halloween. In fact, the survey reports that 82% of households with children will be taking part in holiday-related activities compared with 55% of childless households. And all told, households with kids will spend close to $150 on average this year compared with households without whose spending is estimated at around $74.

Spending on holiday decorations is up this year too. In fact, those in the spooky spirit plan to spend around $3.17 billion collectively, up from $2.59 billion last year. And costume spending is expected to reach a collective $3.32 billion, which is the highest it's been since 2017.

How to keep your Halloween costs down

While Americans may be planning to spend a lot to celebrate, there are ways to enjoy Halloween without blowing your budget or breaking out the credit cards. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make your own costume, especially if you're crafty or handy with a sewing machine
  • Shop thrift stores or consignment shops for used costumes instead of buying new
  • Keep decorations simple or buy from more affordable places such as dollar stores
  • Shop at small local farms or stores for pumpkins and other decor

By keeping things simple and opting for used or homemade costumes, you can make Halloween a great day for yourself -- and your kids -- without draining your bank account and ending up with regrets when the bill comes due.

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