According to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, consumers are expected to spend an average of $56.31 on Halloween, down from $66.54 in 2008. Total spending on the holiday is expected to reach $4.75 billion.Consumer Spending logo

Nearly one in three (29.6%) consumers say the state of the U.S. economy will impact their Halloween spending plans. Of those who will be affected, the largest majority (88.0%) plan to spend less overall. Others say they will be buying less candy (46.5%), using last year’s decorations without buying new ones (35.4%), making costumes instead of purchasing them (16.8%), reusing last year’s costumes (15.8%), and not participating in as many Halloween activities such as haunted houses or fall festivals (26.4%).

“The economy has caught up to Halloween this year,” said Tracy Mullin, President and CEO, National Retail Federation. “Since retailers know that Americans will be looking to celebrate on a budget, there’s no doubt we will see creative costume and decorating ideas in every price point imaginable.”

As more evidence of just how pervasive the effect of the recession has been, fewer people plan to celebrate Halloween this year (62.1% vs. 64.5% last year), and those who are celebrating will participate in fewer activities. According to the survey, one-third (33.4%) will dress in costume, compared to 35.3 percent last year. The number of people carving a pumpkin will also drop (42.4% compared to 44.6% last year). Additionally, fewer people will throw or attend a party (30.2% vs. 31.1% in 2008), visit a haunted house (17.0% vs. 18.1% in 2008) and hand out candy (71.2% vs. 73.7% last year). Even with the advent of life-sized yard decorations, which have become immensely popular in recent years, fewer people plan to decorate their home or yard (47.3% vs. 50.3%).

Young adults, who were last year’s big spenders for Halloween, plan to scale back dramatically this year. According to the survey, the average 18-24 year-old will spend $68.56 on the holiday, compared to $86.59 last year and $81.91 in 2007.

“With part-time jobs more scarce and parents unable to help out financially, many young adults have been impacted substantially by the economy,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “The overriding theme for Americans’ Halloween celebrations this year will be, ‘How creative can I be, and how little can I spend?'”

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.

“2009 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey,” conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation (NRF), September 29, 2009.  Website: www.nrf.com.