Halloween has become more than a way for children to pass a few hours and gather a hoard of candy. It is big business, with American consumers expected to spend about $8.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Georgia consumers will eagerly participate in that, according to the Georgia Retail Association. James Miller, communications director for the state group, said the state’s families spend an average of $75 last year on Halloween.

That includes things like costumes, candy and decorations.

“It has been over $70 for the last few years,” he said. “That is a significant amount of money to spend.”

Significant enough that it causes major retailers to commit most or all over the seasonal space to Halloween and specialty shops to pop up in late summer.  For Miller, it is a sign that more families feel they have a few disposal dollars to use only two months in advance to the Christmas season.  “It is a result of people feeling better about finances in general,” he said.  And it leads to an increase in jobs in temporary stores and seasonal attractions.

Nationally, spending on the holiday is expected to grow by almost 22 percent this year, and consumers will spend an average of almost $83 dollars.  The biggest items for consumers will be costumes at $3.1 billion, candy at $2.5 billion and decorations at $2.4 billion.

The first two weeks of October will be the busiest shopping time, according to the national predictions, will about 44.4 percent of the holiday spending happening then. Almost 30 percent completed their Halloween shopping in September.

“Consumers are eager to celebrate Halloween, especially given that eight in 10 Americans will shop by mid-October. That is the highest we have seen in the survey history,” Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Americans will enjoy taking advantage of early-bird promotions both online and in-store as they kick off the fall season.”

The NRF also predicts that for the first time in 12 years the princess costume will not be the most popular item in the kids section. This year, about 3 million children will go out dressed as a superhero.  Young adults will favor a character from the Batman franchise, and older adults will fall back on the timeless standby of being a witch.

About a sixth of families who celebrate Halloween will include their fur kids in the fun. Dogs and cats who dress up are most likely to be either a pumpkin or a hot dog.


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