The Halloween Economy: $2 Billion in Candy, $300 Million in Pet Costumes

Revelers are getting ready to spend as much as $6.86 billion this Halloween season.

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Reuters

Halloween is the holiday that puts the "conspicuous" into "conspicuous consumption." If that sexy-Michelle Bachmann or zombie-Khadafi ensemble doesn't draw stares, you're wearing it wrong. If you're under the age of 12, you had better rake in enough candy to induce insulin shock. And if you're heading out to the bar, well, your wardrobe isn't the only thing that should be blacked out.

Of course, all that indulgence comes with a price tag. This year, experts estimate that consumers will spend about $6 billion on Halloween-related purchases.

halloween economy.pngThat's just "a drop in the bucket" compared to overall holiday spending, said Nikoleta Panteva, a senior analyst with market researcher IBISWorld. According to her firm's analysis, Americans spent $228 billion for all major holidays in 2010, from Father's Day to Thanksgiving. Christmas sales alone were $135 billion, or nearly 60% of the total. Halloween's haul was the smallest, accounting for a mere 2.6% of holiday spending.

But for a few industries, October 31 is the night to shine. According to the National Confectioners Association, sweets-makers reap 8% of their annual sales during Halloween, making it candy's biggest holiday. Costumes, cards and decorations account for the rest.

For your viewing pleasure, we have prepared a short slideshow breaking down the Halloween economy. Click along to discover just how much Americans spend on pet costumes, along with some other truly freaky facts.

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Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

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