From Paganism to consumerism: The terror behind Halloween spending


Photo credit: Caitlyn Ralph
Every year Kristi Fecteau decorates the Social Sciences building inside and out.

The weather is beginning to cool down, candy appears to be sold by the pound at Publix, and Spirit Halloween shops inhabit the empty spaces of furniture stores gone out of business. It is Halloween: a day when the dead may roam among the living, but, maybe even more frightening, a day when consumerism is at one of its highest peaks.  

This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects that Americans will spend about $6.9 billion on the holiday – a slight decrease from last year’s grand total of $7.5 billion. About 80 percent of consumers recently polled by the NRF acknowledged that the economy would have an effect on their spending. Those polled said they would spend less on the spooky holiday. The NRF predicts that the average person will spend around $74.34, as opposed to $77.52 spent in 2014.

Originally a Celtic festival called Samhain, Halloween has turned into a parade of children (and adults) dressed in culturally appropriated costumes greedily hoarding a plastic pumpkin head’s worth of cheap candy. And who is the expected culprit of Halloween consumerism this year? None other than your very own millennial peers ages 18 to 34.

Third-year Olivia Short recently spent $60 for a Wonder Woman costume for Halloween. Short justified the amount, saying she rarely celebrates the holiday, and, therefore, rarely spends money on it.

“I had researched for a very long time and looked at a lot of different options to do it myself,” Short said. “It just turned out that buying the full set costume was cheaper, which was surprising to me.”

As sales continue to increase in preparation for Halloween, it is clear that American consumers are not only digging the holiday, but also digging their financial graves.

Information for this article was taken from:


Here are the statistics for this year’s monster mash:

157 million: Number of people planning to participate in Halloween.

$6.9 billion: Total Halloween spending.

$74: Average amount of spending per person.

$1.2 billion: Average amount spent on adult costumes.

$950 million: Average amount spent on children’s costumes.

68 million: Number of Americans dressed in costumes

49 million: Number of Americans planning to throw or attend a party.

45 percent: Americans decorating their yards and homes.

20 million: Amount of people planning to costume their pets.

$350 million: Amount people will spend for pet costumes.

$300 million: The total amount worth of the haunted house industry.

81 percent: Percent of millennial consumers planning to celebrate Halloween.

7 in 10: Millennials planning on wearing a costume.

40.5 percent: Percent of millennials throwing or attending a party.

27 percent: Percent of millennials visiting a haunted house.

1 in 5: Millennials planning on dressing their pets in costumes (compared to 13 percent of adults)

4 in 10: Amount of Americans who begin shopping for Halloween within the first 2 weeks of October.

25 percent: Amount of Americans who will wait until the last minute to find their Halloween costume.

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