Overall Halloween spending and online costume research will decline slightly from last year, the National Retail Federation predicts.

Consumers are likely to scale back their Halloween spending and online research a bit this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $74.34 this year on Halloween, a 4% decline from last year’s average of $77.52, according to the NRF’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey. Total spending is expected to reach $6.9 billion this year, compared with $7.4 billion in 2014, according to NRF data. The 2015 survey polled 6,754 consumers Sept. 1-8.

NRF Media Relations Coordinator Treacy Reynolds describes this year’s forecast as basically flat with 2014, given the survey’s margin of error of 1.3 percentage points.

When asked where they planned to buy Halloween-related items, consumers listed these as leading locations (Percentages do not add up to 100% because respondents could check more than one answer):

  • 47.1%, discount store
  • 32.6%, specialty Halloween store
  • 4.8%, grocery store
  • 19.2%, department store
  • 17.3%, online

Halloween celebrants look to social media for costume inspiration, with Pinterest growing in popularity for ideas, according to the NRF. The survey shows 13.3% will seek ideas from Pinterest, up from 11.4% last year and nearly double the 7.1% of three years ago, the NRF data show. Millennials remain the drivers of Pinterest traffic, with 24.9% of 18-24-year-olds and 23.7% of 25-34-year-olds using the site for costume ideas, according to NRF.


Among other sources for costume ideas, 13.1% of consumers will search Facebook versus 13.5% last year; 3.7% will look to Twitter compared with 4.5% last year, and 2.7% will search blogs, down from 3.6% last year, according to the NRF data.

43.5% of the NRF survey respondents say they plan to dress in costume and spend an average of $27.33 on costumes for the whole family, totaling $2.5 billion on homemade, store-bought and large and small costumes, the NRF survey says. They will spend the most on adult costumes ($1.2 billion), followed by a total of $950 million on children’s costumes and $350 million on costumes for pets. It’s estimated that 68 million Americans will dress up this Halloween and 20 million pet owners will dress up their pet, the NRF survey says.

Research from the International Council of Shopping Centers, which promotes the shopping-center industry, shows 36% of its survey respondents plan to buy a Halloween-related item online that they will get shipped to their home, while 22% will buy items online and pick them up in store. The ICSC Halloween Consumer Spending Survey polled 1,000 adults throughout the United States from Sept. 21-23.

Of the ICSC poll respondents who plan to spend money on Halloween, 61% say they’ll spend about the same as last year, while 15% will spend more and 19% plan to spend less.