Nearly 158 million U.S. shoppers likely will spend $7 billion on Halloween costumes and related merchandise.
In fact, total spending for the unofficial holiday has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, when revelers doled out more than $4.4 billion, according to National Retail Federation polls. And consumers are expected to spend about $2 billion on devilish décor, compared with $7 billion when they deck the halls.
The Retail Federation says Halloween is second only to Christmas when it comes to money spent on decorations.
Kind of creepy, huh?
Little wonder that temporary storefronts hawking Halloween goods have mushroomed throughout northeast Indiana.
I think people like Halloween because its a chance for them to dress up, to be anything they want to be, said Sergio Roman, manager of Halloween Express, which opened in early September on West Coliseum Boulevard across from Glenbrook Square.
Its a time when, even if youre an adult, its OK to dress up and be who you want to be, he said.
Zombies, vampires and minions – from the Despicable Me movies – are among the most popular costumes, Roman said.
Even though sales are expected to slip a bit this year from 2012, the Retail Federation says Halloween remains one of the most beloved and anticipated consumer holidays. Shoppers will spend on average about $75 on décor, costumes, candy and related items – just $5 less than 2012.
The September poll of 5,290 consumers has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.
Halloween will be far from a bust this year, Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. After a long summer, the arrival of fall will put millions of Americans in the spirit to partake in traditional and festive activities. Retailers recognize that when it comes to Halloween, consumers creativity abounds. We expect retailers to stock their shelves with unique costume ideas for adults, children and pets, a variety of candy options and never-seen-before home and yard décor.
Fort Wayne resident Lonnie Nunez says you can count him among those who tend to get a bit carried away when decking his house with devilish decorations.
Yeah, Im that guy, the 53-year-old IBM technician said. I used to do it for my children, but even though theyre all grown up I do it for the kids in my neighborhood. They kind of expect it.
Nunez did some window shopping at Halloween Express recently. Hes getting ideas and hunting for bargains.
Ive had fog and lights, a graveyard, a haunted garage, he said. Im always looking for something different. I usually buy stuff after Halloween to get it on clearance. I probably spend around $50.
Nunez spends less than the average shopper is expected to shell out this year, but acknowledges hes not a typical shopper.
Im always shopping a year in advance, so I wait for things to go sale, he said.
Stoners Funhouse, 712 S. Harrison St., has operated year-round since 1949. Owner Kevin Stoner says his one-store operation peaks in the days leading up to Halloween, but hes not so sure temporary outlets are good for the market.
It gets kind of oversaturated, he said. The one thing about it is that fun is pretty much recession proof. People may change their budgets a little bit, but theyre still going to party.
Megan Wideman agrees. She manages Celebrations Party Outlet next to Stein Mart on West Jefferson Boulevard.
Last year, we had two or three $8,000 days, Wideman said. The weekends are busier, of course, but traffic has been pretty steady.
Graduations and Halloween are Black Friday-like times of the year for the store, she said.
I think the thing with Halloween is you dont need an excuse to have fun, Wideman said. Its even OK to act like a kid. I read somewhere that Halloween is the new Christmas.