Despite a shaky economy, Americans still want to party and will spend to celebrate the season this year.  From Halloween costume parties to Secret Santa exchanges to champagne toasts at New Year’s, results from interclick’s latest audience insight survey show that median spending for holiday parties will be $350 per party, with overall spending potentially topping $3 billion this year.

The majority of consumers throwing holiday parties this year will spend either the same or more for Halloween (86%), Christmas/Holiday (90%) and New Year’s Eve (91%) bashes.  With the most hosts electing to spend the same or more to celebrate the coming of 2012, a new hope seems apparent as consumers invest in optimism ahead of the New Year.

Many consumers will shop and prepare for their fetes online, and although 45% will increase spending, party planners are looking for value.  In fact, one in four will browse the web for online coupons and deals.  Additionally, as holiday parties teem with food and beverages, it comes as no surprise that recipes are among the most frequent online searches, especially at Christmas where 49% of hosts will surf the web for delicious dishes.  Other popular searches include decorations, catering and invitations, and the majority will make purchases about a week in advance.  Among party planners, consumers aged 18-34 are the most likely to shop online, even though older generations tend to spend more per party.

America’s biggest bashes will happen at Halloween and New Year’s Eve in 2011, with respectively 56 and 48 guests attending on average.  Despite consumers expecting slightly fewer guests for Christmas and holiday parties – 32 on average – they will spend the most to celebrate.  Christmas/Holiday party hosts report a median spend of $480 per party, compared to Halloween ($280 per party) and New Year’s Eve ($300 per party).

[Source:  Audience insight survey.  Interclick.  5 Oct. 2011.  Web.  15 Oct. 2011.]