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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Giving your wallet a scare

By Julia Phillips

 

Retailers large and small are expecting record Halloween sales as more than 179 million Americans plan to celebrate the holiday, according to the National Retail Federation.

Total spending is projected to top $9.1 billion, or an average of $86.13 per person. In 2016, Americans spent $8.4 billion cumulatively, or $82.93 per person, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

While Americans are expected to spend over $86 per person, sophomores Jordan Matthews and Cole Noone spent a grand total of $1.98 on their group costume this year.

Infographic by Ben Olson

“I didn’t want to spend money on this costume,” Matthews said. “The only thing I did purchase was some foam paper from JOANN’s [Fabric and Craft store] which was $1.98. I’m going to cut those out for big eyes and glue it onto some 3D glasses frames.”

Noone and Matthews plan on dressing up as Sonic the Hedgehog characters. Matthews will be Knuckles the Echidna and Noone will be Sonic.

“The main idea of this was to do something we wanted to do, but also make it super DIY, do it yourself, a super cheap thing,” Matthews said. “We obviously don’t care how it’s going to turn out, we want to do it for fun.”

Junior Nicole Sievers is also dressing up as the Sonic character Amy, along with Noone and Matthews.

Sievers usually made her own costumes when she was younger and dressed up as a cat because it’s easy and comfortable.

She said she spent $7 to $10 this year on her costume, which is well below the average.

Sievers worked at The Party Store in Lynnwood and, although she said she’s never spent $85 on one Halloween season, if she had the money, she would.

“It depends,” Sievers said. “If you need to save money, make your own. But if you’ve got money, support the business and get that economy going.”

As a college student, Matthews thinks spending $86 on Halloween is crazy.

“It seems like a pretty ridiculous amount of money, especially when it’s fun to make your own costumes out of paper and stuff you already have,” Matthews said. “And sometimes it turns out even better than you think. Homemade costumes have their own charm.”

Noone can see why people spend $86 on Halloween, even imagining people spend more if they go all-out during the season.

“In my experience, it’s the parents that are spending money and they spend it for their children too, and then they have to buy all the candy, so I can see that happening,” Noone said. “But I don’t think most people are spending $86. I’m not spending any money this year on Halloween. I think the people who get into it [spend a lot.].”

Matthews brought items from home for both her and Noone to use in their costumes.

“I have an old red wig with devil horns and I’m using red footie onesie pajamas for the body,” Matthews said. “So all these things I don’t have to buy again I’m reusing which is really nice.”

Matthews also brought 3D glasses frames for both of them to use and a blue wig for Noone to use in his costume.

“I have a bunch of things from back home, we have little dress up items,” Matthews said.

Some of Noone’s favorite family memories were from decorating his house for Halloween.

Noone’s parents would take his family to the pop-up shop Spirit Halloween and let Noone and his siblings choose any item to add to their family decorations.

“It was a fun little thing. We always chose what we liked best, within reason,” Noone said. “We weren’t allowed to get the $200 mechanical moveable decorations, but we asked for that.”

When it comes to purchasing costumes and other Halloween decorations, 47 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores and 38 percent will go to a specialty Halloween store or costume store, according to the National Retail Federation.

Matthews said when she was younger, her parents bought her a pirate costume from Party City and it was probably within the $25 to $30 range.

Noone said his parents don’t like to tell him and his siblings how much they spend because he felt they don’t want the kids to feel bad.

“If  they spent about $200 or $300 dollars on stupid decorations that languish in the garage for 10 years, my siblings and I might feel bad about that. And I’m sure there’s been years my parents have spent a couple hundred dollars, or even more, just because we’re insistent we need this,” Noone said. “I have two brothers and a sister, so we probably spent quite a bit of money.”

Noone said Halloween is fun and he doesn’t mind spending money, but he thinks people can have fun without doing that.

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