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    Halloween to Hit New Heights this Year

    161 million plan to celebrate, highest in 10 years: survey

    Halloween celebrations will be “boo-ming" this year as more people than ever are expected to partake in traditional festivities.

    According to NRF’s 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch, seven in 10 Americans (68.6%) plan to celebrate Halloween, up from 63.8 percent last year and the most in NRF’s 10-year survey history. Those celebrating are expected to spend slightly more, too; the average person will shell out $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $66.28 last year. Total Halloween spending is expected to reach $6.86 billion.

    “Eager to shake off the summer heat and forget about the economy for a few days, Americans are looking forward to having some fun this Halloween,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Many retailers have already stocked their shelves with Halloween merchandise and, given the popularity of the holiday this year, consumers should not hesitate when they find something that would make their celebration complete.”

    The survey found this year’s celebrations will be far from tempered as more people plan to dress in costume (43.9% vs. 40.1% in 2010), throw or attend a party (34.3% vs. 33.3% last year) and visit a haunted house (22.9% vs. 20.8% in 2010.) Additionally, half (49.5%) will decorate their home or yard and 14.7 percent will dress their pets in costume. Other traditional celebratory activities include handing out candy (73.5%), carving a pumpkin (47.8%) and taking children trick-or-treating (32.9%).

    With celebrations increasing, spending is expected to slightly increase across the board as well. The average consumer is expected to spend $26.52 on costumes. This year, Americans will spend $1 billion on children’s costumes, up from $840 million last year, and $1.21 billion on adult costumes, up from $990 million last year. Additionally, pet owners will shell out $310 million on pint-size devils, pumpkins and witch costumes.

    When it comes to decorations, more people this year than in the survey’s history will buy life-size skeletons, extra-large inflatable pumpkins and fake cobwebs, spending an average of $19.79. Spending on Halloween décor is second only to spending on Christmas decorations. Festive celebrants will also buy candy ($21.05) and greeting cards ($4.96).

    “Thanks to creative costumes and décor for consumers of all ages, Halloween has become one of the most anticipated holidays of the year for many people,” said Pam Goodfellow, BIGresearch consumer insights director. “As a non-gift holiday, even people on the strictest budget can enjoy themselves this Halloween.”

    Consumers aren’t completely blowing caution to the wind this year, however. According to the survey, nearly one-third (32.1%) say the state of the U.S. economy will impact their Halloween plans. To compensate, most say they will try to spend less overall (87.1%). Others will make a costume instead of purchasing one (18.9%), use last year’s costume (16.6%) and buy less candy (40.2%).

    The poll of 9,374 consumers was conducted from Sept. 6 to 14. The consumer polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

    NRF’s global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad.

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