Families Cutting Back on Halloween Expenses

POSTED: Monday, October 26, 2009 - 7:56am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:59pm

Halloween is big business for retailers. It’s the second busiest shopping season of the year, second only to Christmas. But with tough economic times this Halloween is a bit more scary for businesses and consumers.

This year estimates are close to 5-billion dollars. "It's a phenomenal time for us, yes," said store manager Dave Roberts. And it's not hard to see why fright night delivers such a big pay day.

There are, of course, costumes and masks, candy and cards, witches, ghosts and monsters, aisles of decorations. "Absolutely. I have four children, I can't afford four costumes so we’re getting creative this year. This one I splurge because its his first real Halloween that he actually knows anything about and then the others gonna be a zombie, we're gonna rub him in the dirt, put him in torn-up cloths and he's going as a zombie. I can't afford it," said shopper Stephanie Hamid.

A lot of families are "cutting" back this year. "Halloween spending is expected to decline this year by about ten dollars per person," said Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation. Retailers feeling "stuck" are hoping to lure in cautious Halloween shoppers by giving them a helping hand. "We have had struggles with keeping sales up, so we try and do things to add in promotions. Buy a costume, get a trick-or-treat bag for free and we also did another thing were if you purchased a certain amount of candies you get a re-useable bag for free," said store manager Julio Polanco.

A "treat" for shoppers trying not to lose their heads, this Halloween season.
Experts say a key to making sure you don't spend too much Halloween shopping is to have a plan, and budget in mind before you go to the store.