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Consumers plan to spend 15.4% less on Halloween

September 29, 2009 | 12:01 am

Halloween could be a lot spookier for retailers this year.

Fewer people plan to celebrate the October holiday -- even though it falls on a Saturday this year -- and the average consumer is expected to spend 15.4% less on Halloween compared with last year, according to a survey released today by the National Retail Federation.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $56.31 on Halloween, compared with $66.54 in 2008.

Of the nearly one-third of respondents who said the economy would affect their Halloween plans, 88% said they would spend less overall, 46.5% said they would buy less candy, 16.8% said they would make their own costumes instead of buying new ones and 5.3% said they wouldn’t hand out candy.

The findings contrast sharply with the retail group’s 2008 survey, which found that more consumers were planning to participate in Halloween festivities as an inexpensive way to have fun during the recession.

“The economy has caught up to Halloween this year,” said Tracy Mullin, president of the retail trade group. “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.”

The Halloween survey polled 8,526 consumers from Sept. 1 through Sept. 9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1%.

The survey also found that consumers plan to spend an average of $20.75 on costumes, $17.99 on candy, $14.54 on decorations and $3.02 on greeting cards.

-- Andrea Chang