Meadville Tribune

Local News

October 12, 2012

Big bucks to go into Halloween costumes this year

MEADVILLE — Six million witches, 3.2 million vampires and nearly $3 billion in sales.

Strip away the fun, fright and candy, and Halloween is big business, indeed — so big that in the midst of an historic economic downturn, spending is expected to hit a 10-year high.

Get the impression that we love this holiday?

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to lay out $2.87 billion on Halloween costumes this year, spending more than $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes and $370 million on pet costumes. The average person will spend $79.82 on Halloween candy, costumes and décor, bringing total spending to $8 billion — the most in the survey’s 10-year history.

Costumes take up the bulk of the shopping time and money, with several in the running as the most popular across the country. Local favorites can vary, however. Cartoon characters are extra popular in Crawford County this year due to the theme of the annual Meadville Halloween parade — “Cartoons on Parade.”

Nationwide favorites

Nearly six million adults plan to dress as a witch this year, and 3.2 million will dress as vampires, according to the National Retail Federation survey. For kids, princess costumes take the number one spot (9.7 percent), with Batman (5.4 percent) and Spider-Man (4.6 percent) taking number two and three. When it comes to those planning a costume for their four-legged friends, 12.7 percent of people are sticking with the most traditional of all costumes — a pet-friendly pumpkin.

“Choosing a costume is one of the most entertaining parts of Halloween,” said National Retail Federation President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay. “With many families on the hunt for adult, child and pet costumes this year, retailers are making sure they’ve got their shelves fully stocked with a wide variety of costumes, including the traditional and even the not-so-traditional garbs inspired by Hollywood and even pop-culture.”

Not surprisingly, many consumers are looking to recent and forthcoming events for their 2012 costume ideas. More than one million adults and kids will dress as some type of athlete this year, a nod perhaps to the London Olympics. And with the election looming in early November, more than 767,000 Halloween party-goers will don some type of political costume. 

As in previous years, man’s best friend won’t be left out of the Halloween celebrations. The most popular pet costume will be a pumpkin (12.7 percent), with devils (6.9 percent) and hot dogs (5.7 percent) following closely behind.

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