Last year, Americans spent an estimated $5.77 billion celebrating Halloween, but the current economic downturn is prompting some people to scale back on the spookiest of holidays.
The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend about $1 billion less this Halloween than last year.
In Lawrence, some residents say they plan to party on a budget this year by cutting down on candy purchases and getting creative with costumes.
“Considering it could be an unnecessary expense, people are spending very frugally,” said Kathy Barland, of Sarah’s Fabrics, 925 Mass., which rents Halloween costumes. “… It’s possible, because of the economy, we will have more last-minute purchases. It’s interesting to watch customers talk themselves out of buying things.”
If anyone needs thrifty solutions for their celebrations, it’s families.
Amanda Maberry, Lawrence, plans to buy much less candy, and two of her children have made their own costumes.
“We’re having a hard time because we’re having my daughters’ birthdays this weekend, and they wanted a Halloween party,” Maberry said as she shopped in the Halloween aisle at Walmart, 3300 Iowa.
Careful Halloween spending often proves tricky for families. Brenda Sampson, Lawrence, acknowledged that not doing anything for the holiday is nearly impossible.
“I always do the minimal amount, but I do think it’s fun for kids, so it’s important to do it for them,” Sampson said as she picked up candy at SuperTarget, 3201 Iowa.
Sampson’s strategies include borrowing a costume for her 9-year-old son.
“It’s always been more our mentality to recycle and reuse,” Sampson said.
Even college students, who make up nearly half of the sales for stores such as Fun and Games, 1601 W. 23rd St., will try to get creative for cheap Halloween fun.
Some Kansas University students, such as Lawrence freshman Hannah Norman, will restrict their purchases to accessories and finishing touches.
“I’m not sure what to be yet, but I’m going to base it on what’s already in my closet,” Norman said.
Even though people are looking at more frugal ways to celebrate, Kyle Billings, owner of Fun and Games, believes Halloween is recession-proof and that although people might scale back, they’re not going to do nothing.
“One thing that I’ve seen, and a lot of people have said it, is that they’ll pick something, but then wait until payday,” Billings said.
“People just like to spend money on this kind of thing, and they’ll do it no matter what.”