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Halloween Spending On The Rise


Now let's report on a different kind of horror. Tonight, of course, is Halloween, and Americans are expected to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 billion on decorations candy, costumes and other stuff.

From Seattle, NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports on the business behind this ghoulish night.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: At Kyra Stewart's store - Masquerade Costume - the Victorian-inspired corset is one of the most popular items for women. Men, says Stewart, often begin their look with a zoot suit. They become d Dick Tracy or gangsters, or even the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood."

KYRA STEWART: These rent for $75 and that includes the jacket, pants, a zoot chain, a tie, a pocket silk - it's a pretty complete look.

KAUFMAN: But some revelers spend even more.

CHRIS ADAMS: Everyone on the team is dressing up as pirates.

KAUFMAN: Chris Adams works for a security firm having a giant office party.

ADAMS: Individually, I think I've spent maybe $200 on my costume.

KAUFMAN: Kind of steep, isn't it?

ADAMS: Very steep. Absolutely. I think that's the Marine Corps in me, I got to kind of be the best at it, and this is my first time ever dressing up.

KAUFMAN: Two hundred dollars is definitely on the high side. A survey done for the National Retail Federation suggests that Americans 18 and over will spend an average of almost $80 - quite a bit more than last year.

The giant storm that battered the East may curtail some Halloween festivities. But the Retail Federation says most of the buying would have been done before the storm hit.

Candy, of course, is a big item, an estimated $44 a household. And lest we forget, face paint.

DAWN DOMINIK: My base rate starts at 60 and goes up from there.

KAUFMAN: Makeup artist Dawn Dominik loves this holiday.

DOMINIK: We get to be whoever we want to be and nobody gets to say anything about it.

KAUFMAN: And finally, there's the money we shell out on pets. The Retailers Association says Americans will spend about $370 million on costumes for Fido and friends.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News, Seattle. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.