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Are Spenders Spooked This Halloween?


Keeping the spirit in the season.

There's a house on the block where I grew up that goes all out for Halloween. Lots of blood, guts, and body parts all over their front lawn. My kind of decorations!

My daughter and I were lucky enough to catch this tableau while visiting my parents one night this week. The display is back with gusto. Apparently the owners of the house didn't get the memo. Halloween spending is supposed to be down $10 per person this year -- an average $56 versus last year's $66. This is the lowest rate of spending since 2005.

That's what the National Retail Federation is predicting, based on its latest survey results from BIGresearch. The survey found consumers plan to spend an average of $20.75 on costumes, which includes children's and pets' costumes; $17.99 on candy; $14.54 on decorations, and $3.02 on greeting cards.

One category taking a big hit is candy with 46.5% saying they plan to spend less on it this season. That's not such great news for chocolate purveyors Nestle (NSRGY), Hershey (HSY), or Cadbury (CBY) despite the concerted efforts of retailers to plant the seed earlier than usual. My local CVS (CVS) was hawking mini-Milky Ways even before Labor Day weekend.

Still, I prefer to look at the bright side. While 88% of the survey respondents say they'll spend less on Halloween stuff, only 30% said the economy will deter their plans.

That's the spirit!

Halloween is a big deal where I live. There's a ragamuffin parade, door-to-door trick-or-treating, and then nighttime block parties on stoops all over town. It's a great community-builder.

Once again, my household won't be spending much on costumes this year. (See Do It For Less: Halloween.) According to NRF, 15.8% of Americans will recycle last year's costume. My daughter and her classmates plan to portray "Jon and Kate Plus 8." Not sure what role she's playing, or how they intend to depict Jon. I expect to fall back on one of my standby ensembles.

Guess what the most popular adult costume is projected to be this year? (No, this guy's
not on the list, but my guess is we'll see a lot of impersonators.) Most popular kid costume is a princess. Most popular pet costume is a pumpkin. (I still don't get the trend of people dressing their dogs.)

Over in MinyanLand, the virtual world I oversee, we're already teaching kids about earning, spending, saving, and giving. This month, we add scaring! There's a Halloween scavenger hunt going on throughout October. We're hiding a new spooky thing every week. It's totally free. Please check it out!

How do you plan to celebrate Halloween this year? Weigh in on The Exchange.

Register For Minyanville's Holiday Festivus '09 Here
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