Ghosts, goblins, and things that go "bump in the night" may be frightening, but the price tag on this year's Halloween is scariest of all. This holiday season, Americans are projected to spend $9 billion on costumes, candy, and decorations. Seven in 10 Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), with celebrants spending an average of $90 each.

Price of Costumes

Dressing up as your favorite character has become a Halloween staple. While trick-or-tricking, you can easily spot tiaras, gowns, and glass slippers, as princesses have recently eclipsed superheroes as the most popular type of costume for children. Popular costumes also include characters from the Star Wars franchise, Batman, Spider-Man, and witches. Child-sized costumes typically range from $25 to $40, not including additional props, make-up, and a bag for storing candy.

Adults certainly don't have to be left out of the fun, either. Every Halloween has popular costumes, but usually they are a direct reflection of current pop culture. The most popular costumes among adults this year are witch, vampire, zombie, pirate, and characters from the Avengers series. Costumes can range from $30 to several hundred dollars, depending on how committed someone is. This year, Youtube has been a popular source of inspiration for costume ideas, with men nearly twice as likely than women to find their costume through the video platform.

Children this year are dressing up as their favorite princesses and parents are sticking to traditional favorites, but what about household pets? The most popular costumes for pets this year are, oddly enough, foods, including pumpkins and hot dogs. The next best thing after dressing a pet up as food is apparently dressing them up as another animal. This Halloween, you can expect to see pets dressed as cats, dogs, lions, and bumble bees. 

Price of Candy

This year, nearly double the number of adults will hand out candy than dress up in costume. About 70% of celebrants plan to hand out candy this year, however, handing out candy is one out of two Halloween trends slowly declining hand-in-hand. The other is taking children trick or treating, possibly due to increased focus children's health over the past 13 years. Even so, Americans are projected to spend $2.6 billion on treats this year.

The Bottom Line

Americans are gearing up for the second-most expensive Halloween post-recession, according to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers are helping customers celebrate in style with a huge selection of costumes, candy and decorations to cater to ghosts and goblins of all ages,” Shay said. Will struggling retailers be treated to a little relief as the holiday season begins? Only time and a little bit of terror will tell. As for consumers, you have spent nearly two months and $9 billion preparing for Halloween. Now that it's here, don't forget to indulge in some of the less of expensive sides of the holiday: carve a pumpkin, treat yourself with some candy, and get creative with your costume instead of breaking the bank.