What Halloween Spending Says About the Economy

Positive signs on the consumer front could signal good things to come for the holidays and the economy.

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Even purely optional items, such as adult and pet Halloween costumes, appear to be flying off the shelves. The most popular costumes for the over-18 crowd this year are witches, vampires, and pirates, and popular children's costumes include princesses, Batman, and Spiderman. Pets get in on the act, too, with pumpkin, devil, and hot-dog outfits. Families with kids are expected to spend a total of $1.1 billion this year, according to the NRF's survey. Most people also report that they will decorate their home or yard.

And the holiday season, another big time for spending, is just around the corner. Grannis says she thinks consumers will continue to celebrate with strong, but savvy, spending. She says, "Consumers have found a way to be very comfortable with their finances. It might mean researching prices more often, and looking for coupons more, and being a savvier shopper, but overall I think consumers are feeling a little bit better."