No trick, fewer treats: Halloween spending lower

It's a spooky picture for Halloween retailers. After a surprising surge in Halloween purchases last year despite being in the teeth of the "Great Recession," Americans will be reigning in their spending in 2009.

Last year's high Halloween spending was attributed to the country's desire to escape the day-to-day grind of a recession and economic uncertainty. Better to buy artificial bogeymen to deck out our homes than confront the real thing lurking in our home values and 401(k)s, the thinking went.

Last year, we collectively shelled out $5.77 billion on everything from fun-sized candy bars to plastic gravestones for the front yard. This year is another story: according to a study by the National Retail Federation, that number is expected to drop to $4.75 billion this year. The recession has hit home for many more of us this year, and escapism has given way to pragmatism. Close to one in three say the economy is impacting their Halloween spending. Similarly, a recent Pricegrabber.com survey shows that 35 percent of us plan to spend less this Halloween.

On average, each of us will spend $56.31 on Halloween tricks and treats, down from $66.54, a decline of 15%. Need some ideas for trimming your ghoulish budget? This Walletpop post highlights several good ones.