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Total Halloween spending is expected to reach a record $12.2 billion, exceeding last year’s record of $10.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.  

A record number of people (73%) will participate in Halloween-related activities this year, up from 69% in 2022, the survey found. Spiderman and all manner of princesses are the most popular costume choices for young trick-or-treaters. For adults, vampire and Barbie costumes are the top choices. 

“More Americans than ever will be reaching into their wallets and spending a record amount of money to celebrate Halloween this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers will be shopping early for festive décor and other related items and retailers are prepared with the inventory to help customers and their families take part in this popular and fun tradition.”

Like previous years, the top ways consumers are planning to celebrate are handing out candy (68%), decorating their home or yard (53%) or dressing in costume (50%). However, in a return to pre-pandemic norms, more consumers also plan to throw or attend a party (32%) or take their children trick-or-treating (28%). 

Per person spending is also up as consumers plan to spend a record $108.24 each, up from the previous record of $102.74 in 2021. The greatest increase in spending came from costumes, which are more popular than ever.

Sixty-nine percent of those celebrating Halloween plan to buy costumes, up from 67% last year and the highest in the survey’s history. Total spending on costumes is expected to reach a record $4.1 billion, up from $3.6 billion in 2022.

Total spending on decorations, which grew in popularity during the pandemic and continue to resonate with consumers, is expected to reach $3.9 billion. Of those celebrating Halloween, more than three-quarters (77%) plan to purchase decorations, which is on par with last year, but up from 72% in 2019.

Candy spending is expected to reach $3.6 billion, up from $3.1 billion last year. Spending on Halloween greeting cards is projected to be $500 million, down slightly from $600 million in 2022 but above pre-pandemic levels.

Similar to other major holidays and spending events like back-to-school and the winter holidays, consumers are looking to get an early start on their Halloween shopping. Nearly half (45%) of those celebrating the holiday plan to start shopping before October. This is on par with last year, but up from 33% a decade ago. 

“Younger consumers are eager to begin their Halloween shopping, with more than half of those ages 25-44 planning to shop before or during September,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Social media continues to grow as a source of costume inspiration for younger consumers, as more people under 25 are turning to TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram for ideas.”

The leading sources of inspiration continue to be online searches (37%), within a retail store or costume shop (28%), and friends and family (20%).

Discount stores (40%) remain the leading destination to buy Halloween items, followed by specialty Halloween/costume stores (39%) and online (32%). While specialty Halloween and costume shops have always been a top destination for Halloween items, more consumers plan to shop at these stores this year than in the past. 

Spending on adult costumes is expected to increase 18% over last year to $2 billion and spending on children’s costumes is expected to increase by 20% over 2022 to $1.4 billion. In line with last year, spending on pet costumes is projected to reach $700 million.

About 2.6 million children plan to dress as Spiderman, 2 million as their favorite princess, around 1.6 million as a ghost, 1.5 million as a superhero and 1.4 million as a witch.

Of those planning to dress up for Halloween, 75% of adults already know what their costume will be this year, up from 70% last year. More than 5.8 million adults plan to dress like a witch, nearly 2.4 million as a vampire, 1.8 million as Barbie, more than 1.4 million as Batman and 1.3 million as a cat.

The most popular pet costumes include a pumpkin (11%), a hot dog (7%), a bat (4%), a bumblebee (3%) and a spider (3%). 

There are some newcomers to the top costume rankings as pop culture is strongly influencing this spooky season, with many children and adults dressing up as characters from this year’s big movies and shows.