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NRF: More shoppers eager to spend this Halloween on costumes, home decor

Washington - A record 170 million people said they plan to celebrate Halloween this year, according to National Retail Federation's 2012 Halloween consumer spending survey conducted by BigInsight.

For the survey, 9,393 consumers were polled from Sept. 5 to 11.

Getting in the holiday's haunting mood will be seven in 10 Americans, or 71.5%, up from last year's 68.6%, and more notably, the highest rate in NRF's 10-year survey history.

For retailers, all of this news bodes well, as consumers are expecting to spend more this time around. The survey found that the average person will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy -- up from $72.31 last year, with total Halloween spending expected to reach $8.0 billion.

"By the time Halloween rolls around each year it's safe to say Americans have already spent two months preparing for one of the fastest-growing and most widely-loved holidays of the year," said NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay. "Retailers know that when it comes to Halloween, new costume ideas for children, adults and pets, and the latest in home and yard décor top people's shopping lists. We expect retailers to stock their shelves well ahead of time to capture the attention of eager holiday shoppers."

Of the people celebrating Halloween this year, more than half (51.4%) will decorate their home or yard, up from 49.5% last year, and 45.0% plan to dress in costume, also up from last year (43.9%.) More than one-third (36.2%) will throw or attend a party and 33.2% will take children trick-or-treating. Additionally, 15.1% will ensure their furry friends are part of the fun too, by dressing their pet in costume.

"Almost as soon as people bring down their fall and winter apparel from the top shelves in their closets, Halloween becomes top of mind," said BigInsight evp, strategic initiatives, Phil Rist. "There's certainly pent-up demand for having some fun this year and shoppers are planning to spend their hard-earned dollars on items that help them get into the Halloween spirit."

When it comes to looking for Halloween costume ideas, consumers said their biggest source of inspiration is what they see in a retail store or costume shop. More than one-third -- 35.7% -- will look for new ideas in a store and nearly one-quarter (23.7%) will turn to their friends and family.

Social media will also play a role in choosing costumes: 15.2% will check out Facebook for inspiration and 7.1% will go to Pinterest. Internet searches will also be popular with celebrants, as 33.3% said they will get their inspiration online. Of those buying or making costumes, the average person will spend $28.65 on costumes this year, up slightly from $26.52 in 2011.

Overall, NRF summed, consumers will spend billions on Halloween costumes this year. Families with children who plan to dress up for the holiday will spend a total of $1.1 billion on their children's costumes, up slightly from $1.0 billion last year. Not to be outdone by their children, adults will spend $1.4 billion on vampire, witch and zombie costumes, up from $1.2 billion in 2011. More pets will hit the town this Halloween as well -- pet owners plan to shell out $370 million on pint-sized costumes, up from $310 million in 2011.

Despite record spending figures for this year's Halloween holiday, one-fourth of U.S. consumers (25.9%) said the state of the economy will impact their Halloween plans. To compensate, 18.0% will make a costume instead of buying one and over one-third (36.1%) will buy less candy.

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