Pet owners have some big plans, according to the NRF Halloween spending survey. NRF determined that 22 million people will dress up their pets for Halloween and spend an estimated $330 million on pet costumes alone.
The NRF survey also determined that about 158 million Americans will celebrate the holiday this year — a decrease from last year's 170 million, according to a recent news release.
"Total spending on costumes, treats, festivities, and, yes, even pets will reach $6.9 billion, compared to $8 billion last year," the news release stated.
According to NRF, mediocre job growth, higher payroll taxes and a weak economy are causing many consumers to pinch pennies and spend less. NRF CEO Matthew Shay recently described it as living in an "either/or" economy — meaning consumers will buy discretionary items or big ticket items but not both. And this year, Halloween simply may not make the cut for some consumers' budgets.
Despite the state of the economy — especially being in the first few days of a government shutdown — average spending on Halloween has increased 55 percent since 2005. This year, Halloween spending is expected to be slightly higher than spending in 2011, probably because of young adults who prove that the holiday is not just for children, NRF said.
The survey showed that seven out of ten adults in the age range of 18-24 plan to wear a costume this year. About 65 percent of people in their late 20s and early 30s also plan to wear a Halloween costume. About 52 percent of millennials will throw a party, 47 percent will carve pumpkins, 36 percent will visit a haunted house and 20 percent will wear a costume.
In the Alexandria area, pumpkin patches have already cropped up and haunted house events are scheduled throughout the month. And of course retail stores in the area have had Halloween merchandise on the shelves since the third week of September.
*Where to buy Halloween merchandise in Alexandria area: *