Outfitting witches, goblins and zombies is expected to make a frighteningly big impact on Halloween business.
The nation is expected to spend $8 billion on Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The average person will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up $7.51 from 2011.
At Halloween Express on Old Plantation Road in North Augusta, the store’s most expensive item – an animated, life-sized figure of an old man that automatically rocks back and forth in a rocking chair – retails for $399. Other decorations also command high prices, such as reaper mannequins for $100 and inflatable lawn decorations for $89 to $130, according to store manager Mitzi Sharp.
“Some are shocked by how much the bill becomes,” Sharp said. “Some people act like it didn’t even hurt their pocket to spend that much money.”
Adult costumes range from $30 to $60, and costume accessories such as shoes, hats, stockings, wigs and makeup can add another $100 to $150, Sharp said. Some adults buy more than one costume if they are attending multiple parties. Children’s costumes sell for less than $40.
“A whole family will come in and spend $300, $400, even $500,” she said.
Costumes, either homemade or store-bought, cost an average $28.65, according to the NRF. Spending on adult costumes outdoes children’s costumes by $300 million.
Rachel Hill, of Hephzibah, shopped at Halloween Express on Tuesday for a costume with a price limit in mind. Spending more than $40 made her cringe.
“It’s ridiculous to spend that much on one day. The outfits are not worth it,” Hill said.
Tessish Harrison, of Greenwood, S.C., traveled to Halloween Express to buy costumes for herself and three grandchildren. She estimated spending between $200 and $300, a price Harrison said she willingly pays for the thrill of dressing up once a year.
“I like to see the kids enjoy it, and it’s really fun,” she said. Last year, she spent $125 on two inflatable yard decorations at a post-Halloween half-price sale.
The majority of shopping at Party City on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway in Augusta is for costumes that trick-or-treaters or partygoers want to replace every year, said store assistant manager Richard Lee. Decorations are typically a one-time buy that lasts year to year.
Costumers commonly leave with several bags filled with Halloween gear, Lee said.