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Americans dole out billions of dollars for Halloween

Monday, October 31, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:19 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hollow pumpkins bearing toothless grins guard front porches, and the candy section at the local supermarket has grown from one aisle to three. This can only mean one thing: Halloween is at the door.

Consumers are expected to spend $3.29 billion on the ghostly holiday, up 5.4 percent from $3.12 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2005 Halloween survey.

Individually, consumers will spend an average of $48.48 on Halloween, according to the survey.

Arrow Froese, co-owner of Gotcha, a costume shop at 32 N. Ninth St., says the estimate sounds accurate. “People want to be most cost effective,” he said.

The survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that 74.3 percent of Americans surveyed planned to hand out candy. The research found that consumers will spend about $1.16 billion on Halloween candy. Bite-sized chocolate is the most popular form of candy to hand out, according to the National Confectioners Association. The survey ranks Halloween eighth against other holidays, in terms of spending.

Rebecca Tucker, 52, of Columbia said she has noticed an increase in Halloween spending since she was younger.

“It’s much more extravagant,” Tucker said. “When I was growing up, we bought masks and found clothes to go with it. We did with what we had.”

Tucker said she keeps decorating costs down for her home and child care business on Maplewood Drive by reusing Halloween decorations.

Consumers will spend the most money on costumes, an average of $31.88 per person, according to the retail federation.

“It’s a chance to be something that you’re not,” said Michelle Froese, co-owner of Gotcha. The costume shop, which is marking its 10th Halloween, makes half of its sales for the year in October and sees an array of customers, from families to college students.

“It’s one of the few holidays where you can spend money on yourself,” Arrow Froese said.

Tucker said that behind the candy and costumes is an opportunity for community members to get to know each other.

“It’s an activity adults can do with their children and friends,” she said. “It’s a chance to visit and get to know your neighbors.”

A portion of this report first aired Sunday during the “ABC 17 News at 10.”


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