Lee and Dana Ulyate of Scottsdale bought a pumpkinprint blanket for their silky terrier Baxter on Tuesday.
Still on the Ulyates’ Halloween shopping list are Baxter’s costume and one for Sammy, the family’s other pooch, decorations for the house and candy to give away to the neighborhood kids.
Michele and Taylor Cardall are looking for a bear costume for 2-year-old Grayson. With four kids under 10, the Cardalls expect their holiday tab to be $100 to $200, even though the family recycles costumes.
Both local families top typical Halloween spending plans.
The National Retail Federation predicts the average U.S. consumer will spend $48.48 on the October holiday.
With more than half the country’s consumers planning to celebrate Halloween, that will add up to a whopping $3.3 billion in retailers’ registers, 5.4 percent more than they took in last year.
Mall owner Macerich, parent of East Valley malls Chandler Fashion Center, Scottsdale Fashion Square and Mesa’s Fiesta Mall and Superstition Springs Center, puts the average holiday tab even higher — at $51.03 per person.
Halloween is the sixth biggest spending occasion of the year, relegated to a spot outside the top five only because it isn’t a gift-giving event, said Ellen Tolley, spokeswoman for the retail group.
It is second only to Christmas as an occasion to drag out the decorations. Nearly 60 percent of the shoppers polled by the retail trade group said they plan to buy Halloween home decorations this year.
Ghoulish black trees embedded with eerie orange lights are early favorites among shoppers at the north Scottsdale Target, said store manager Marco Schneider.
"They seem to like spooky this year," Schneider said of the customers’ choices of decor and costumes.
That describes the goodies in Pat Anderson’s shopping cart Tuesday. She picked up such seasonal specials as witch-festooned tissue boxes and spiderweb-design dish towels, and the Scottsdale woman just started her holiday shopping. Anderson plans to dress up her three kids and her big, castle-like home in ghostly garb, from soap in the front-yard fountain causing it to bubble like the Macbeth witches cauldron to gargoyleadorned front doors.
"Halloween is a favorite time of year," Anderson said. "With school parties, candy, costumes, we overdo it. I have no idea how to do Halloween for $48."
The $48.48 per person estimate tops 2001 Halloween spending, the previous high, according to the National Retail Federation. Spending slipped along with the overall economy for the following two years, and inched up only slightly last year.
This year’s expected surge is led by the 18- to 24-yearolds, Tolley said.
"Young adults have celebrated Halloween for years but this year their spending estimates jumped 30 percent," she said.
Halloween will always be a big kids holiday, she said, but young adults who grew up celebrating it don’t want to give it up. Retailers who design costumes and home decorations aimed to attract the young adults are reaping benefits.
"This age group has high disposable income and not many bills," Tolley said. "Young adults are growing Halloween into a major holiday."