The Cost of Halloween in America According to the National Retail Federation Will Blow Your Mind

Holidays are fun, but they do have a nasty tendency to run up some absurd expenses. Case in point: The results are in from the National Retail Federation’s Halloween expenditure forecast, and, well… let’s just say that the numbers are enough to make a ghost scream in terror. Are you ready for this? Here’s how much money Americans are expected to spend on Halloween-related things this year: $7.4 billion. You heard me — as a nation, we are collectively blowing $7.4 billion on Halloween. Uh… Yikes.

Most of the money this year is expected to go towards Halloween costumes, although the breakdown of who specifically those costumes are for might not be what you think it is. Here’s how the numbers break down, from costumes to candy and beyond:

  • Children’s costumes: $1.1 billion
  • Adult costumes: $1.4 billion
  • Pet costumes: $350 million. For pet costumes. We spend $350 million to humiliate our dogs and cats.
  • Candy: $2.2 billion
  • Decorations: $2 billion
  • General Halloween activities: $87 per young adult aged 18 to 24
  • Total: $7.4 billion

Not going to lie — I feel kind of like this right now:

But hey, don’t freak out yet — if you get creative, it’s relatively easy to keep the costs of the celebration down. A little digging on the Internet will yield plenty of results, but to get you started, here’s a useful set of tips from U.S. News aimed at keeping your Halloween as budget-friendly as it is fun: Consider, for example, shopping later for your Halloween decorations, as the prices will be better then; and when it comes to costumes, making them yourself is usually a better bet than buying them in stores. Besides, the sky’s the limit when it comes to homemade gear; why limit yourself to something that comes all sealed up in a bag?

Of course, as The Atlantic points out, $7.4 billion is small potatoes compared to the amount the NRF projects we’ll spend during the winter holiday season. That estimation comes in at $600 billion, a number so high that I can barely fathom its existence. I mean, seriously. $600 billion? You can buy several private islands for that amount. Several.

Head on over to the NRF’s website for more info about how American consumers celebrate Halloween, and check out the slideshow below for a few handy facts and figures. Spend wisely, my friends!

Images: Pedro J. Ferreira/Flickr; Giphy