Halloween spending is getting scary

Ruth Griffiths

Canadians spent 28 per cent more on Halloween in 2022 than in the previous year, says HelloSafe in a multi-source report. This year, without pandemic restrictions, Halloween spending is predicted to be even higher. About 49 per cent of Canadians who celebrate Halloween plan to spend more than $90 on Halloween this year.  Many people spend far more than that. Canadians will spend the most on costumes, candy and pumpkins.

The most popular costume in  2023 are expected to be:

    •   Barbie.

    •   Princess.

    •   Spider-Man.

    •   Witch.

    •   Fairy.

    •   Wednesday Addams.

    •   Dinosaur.

    •   Cowboy.

Spending on decorations has more than doubled in recent years. In Prince Albert I see evidence of that increased spending on Halloween decorations. In fact, it seems like more work is going into the Oct. 31 decorations than the Dec. 25 decorations. Maybe it has something to do with the weather. It’s easier to get out and decorate your yard when the weather has been as warm and sunny as we saw this fall. It takes more effort to decorate when the snow is deep and the mercury plummets.

Then, too, we have fairly high expectations of ourselves when it comes to Christmas decorations. They have to look jolly and pretty. No such expectations exist for Halloween… in fact the grubbier the better. It’s supposed to be scary!

But if the bill for Halloween looks big, consider Christmas. A NerdWallet Canada survey of more than 1,000 Canadian adults found that more than 30 million Canadians (82 per cent) plan on spending an estimated $20.5 billion (an average of $675 per shopper) on gifts this holiday season  Add the cost of  travel, entertaining and decorations and you have a big blowout in your budget..

But the problem with the holiday season isn’t the amount we end up spending in stores. A recent TD Canada Trust survey indicated that one-third of Canadians will end up buying Christmas gifts that they know they can’t afford, and nearly one in four will end up financing purchases on credit cards.

A few hundred dollars might not sound like a lot of money to have to pay off, but it could take months, even years to pay off your Christmas debt. Paying just the minimum payment of $15 on a $500 balance at 19.9 per cent interest, for example, means the bill will take more than four years to bring to zero – and an extra $233.90 in interest.

Now that’s really scary!