When the black cats, witches and trick-or-treaters come out for Halloween this year, a record 170 million people in the United States will dress up, celebrate, and spend up to US$8 billion ($10 billion), according to a retail industry survey.
Seven in 10 Americans will take part in the festivities, and the average person will spend US$79.82 on decorations, costumes and lollies - up from US$72.31 last year, according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 Halloween consumer spending survey conducted by research group BIGinsight.
Halloween, observed on October 31, is the eighth-biggest selling season in the United States. It is far behind the winter holidays which rank as the No 1 retail selling season.
Last year, retailers raked in US$471.5b during the winter holidays, according to NRF. Halloween sales were about US$6.9b, lower than holiday spending associated with Mother's Day (US$18.6b) and the Super Bowl ($11b).
Among people celebrating Halloween this year, more than half will decorate their home or yard, up from 49.5 per cent last year, and 45 per cent plan to dress in costume, also up from last year, according to the survey.
The study, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 per cent, polled 9393 consumers from September 5 to September 11.
More than one-third plan on throwing or attending a Halloween party and 33 per cent will take children trick-or-treating.
Despite the expected increase in Halloween spending this year, one-fourth of US consumers said the state of the economy will affect their Halloween plans. To compensate, many said they will spend less overall, while others plan to make a costume instead of buying one, or will buy fewer lollies.