Apparently, Halloween is more than just a holiday—it’s an economic stimulus package. Americans plan to spend a whopping $6.9 billion on costumes, decorations, and entertainment related to October 31, according to the National Retail Federation—and that’s more than double 2005’s number from the same survey, $3.3 billion. And it’s not a fluke: Halloween spending dropped by $1 billion to $4.8 billion in 2009, but was back up to $5.8 billion by last year, Time reports.
Of this year’s planned expenditures, about $2.5 billion will go to costumes for people, $2 billion to candy, $2 billion to decorations, and more than $300 million to costumes for pets. Despite the fact that we spend much more on Christmas and other end-of-the-year holidays ($447 billion was last year’s projection), that number is not growing nearly as quickly. Perhaps Halloween spending is up because, during troubled financial times, we want to escape: During the last recession, romance novel sales were up, notes Time. During the Depression, musicals were quite popular.