How Much Does the Average Family Spend on Halloween 2012?

Halloween 2006

Halloween 2006 (Photo credit: Terry.Tyson)

We’ve come along way over the centuries. Back in ancient Celtic times Halloween was all about sacrifice (I’ll leave it at that). These days Halloween is all about giving; dolling out goodies and perhaps a few friendly freights. The National Retail Federation reports that the average family is planning on spending more money than previous years on the upcoming Halloween festivities. As always, I’m here to provide you all the numbers behind how family’s are budgeting this Halloween.

$80 is Actually a Lot More than Last Year

Usually, when I breakdown holiday spending, the average family budget is a bit more substantial. However, families spend relatively less on Halloween by planning only an average expense of $79.82. It might not sound it, but this is a big increase over last year’s $72.31. For those of you who don’t mind reading my lists of endless averages and percentages, it works out to about a 10 percent increase.

Men Spend the Most: What Else is New

The record remains unbroken for the upcoming holiday. Men are planning on spending $90.11, whereas women seek a thriftier budget of $70.11.

At least men can boast their frugality when compared to adults in the 25 to 34 age group. Young adults are planning on spending $111.96 on Halloween this year. Probably a result of having little children who demand costumes in order to gather candy on Halloween night.

Most of the Spending is for Costumes

When it comes to managing the meager $80 budget this year, families are expecting to spend the most on costumes. The whole family, dog included, will squeeze into their outfits for a mere $43.60. Decorations take second place in the family budget with $32.35 spent. Candy comes in with $24.25. While greeting cards are purchased for $10.72.

You’ll notice that doesn’t add up to $80 because different families buy/don’t buy different combinations of these items.

Candy Gets the Cut in Tough Economy – Not Costume

When it comes to saving money on Halloween this year, candy is the first expense to get axed. 36 percent of families report less spending on candy this year. Meanwhile, 22 percent plan on reusing last year’s decorations.

Where does making one’s own costume fall? A mere 18 percent of families plan on making costumes to save money. A little more than 16 percent plan to cut out candy all together.

I’ve got to hand it to the average family. When it comes to Halloween, I find that their budget is far more manageable than other big celebrations like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Although, I’m surprised that candy is on the top of the chopping block instead of homemade costumes. I suppose receiving a trick is better than appearing poorly dressed?

…If you think that’s the case, explain school campuses?…

How did the average family do during the Halloween season? Is their budget too lavish, too tight or just right? How does your own spending compare? What are the reasons your family is successful/unsuccessful in budgeting for Halloween?

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13 Responses to How Much Does the Average Family Spend on Halloween 2012?

  1. Pauline on 10/08/2012 at 2:36 pm

    I find it strange too that people would rather cut on candies than make their own costumes. With a little imagination you can do wonders and your costume will be much more marveled at than if you are the 100th witch that night!

    • John on 10/09/2012 at 7:05 am

      I agree. Since costumes make up the biggest part of the budget. It makes sense to try and lower costs that way.

  2. AverageJoe on 10/08/2012 at 2:42 pm

    We’re invited to two parties this year and I’ll have to dress up. That’s always the worst part. Why can’t I go as a middle aged money geek?

    • John on 10/09/2012 at 6:56 am

      It’s an election year, just slap on a “vote for me” pin and you’ll be instantly transformed into a middle aged money spender.

  3. jefferson @SeeDebtRun on 10/09/2012 at 1:01 am

    Yeah.. That number seems about right.. But we certainly try to cut costs on Halloween, and make costumes for the kiddies whenever possible. Just tonight, we “modified” a costume for one of our little ones, to make it fit (it was a little small) :-) But it still looks great.

    I have friends that spend a ton on decorations as well.. But we are trying to keep it low-key this year..

    • John on 10/09/2012 at 6:54 am

      Last year my wife made up a little pig costume for my daughter that turned out great and cost little more than $2. I don’t know what she has in store for this year.

  4. Jason Clayton | frugal habits on 10/09/2012 at 8:37 am

    Interesting… I would think costumes would be the first place to cut costs. I have 2 little girls and their costumes are stuff they already have – so no expense there. I will however spend money on candy, pumpkins, and just enjoying the holiday. :)

    • John on 10/10/2012 at 7:03 am

      You would think that would be the case. I guess it works like charitable giving, where if the budget gets tight it’s the first thing you cut.

  5. Greg@ClubThifty on 10/10/2012 at 4:08 pm

    Like Jason, we have two little girls. This year, their costumes cost us $17.00 and $5.00 – which is a huge splurge for us. We will give out candy, but we buy the cheap stuff…like $3.00 for a bag.

    • John on 10/10/2012 at 9:54 pm

      I try not to go too cheap on the candy. We rarely go through it all and if I have to eat it, then it needs to be up to my standards. But, I’m not gonna hand out Godiva either.

  6. Kim@eyesonthedollar on 10/10/2012 at 11:06 pm

    We will go to the pumpkin patch and probably spend about $8 on pumpkins. Grandma sent a costume for our daughter and we live out of town, so won’t have many trick or treaters. Maybe $10-$12? Our decorations are getting pretty spotty, so I might buy some more after Halloween if there is a good deal.

    • John on 10/11/2012 at 9:07 pm

      I’m looking at about the same. We won’t spend much on costumes, but we need decorations this year. A bag or two of candy should be enough.

  7. [...] to NRF findings, all strategies for cutting the Halloween budget saw a decrease this year. For example, putting up [...]

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