Costuming Up Post-COVID
With the fall calendar in full swing, we’re rapidly approaching the so-called holiday season, which will be largely free of COVID-based restrictions for the first time in two years. Although the more traditional holiday season gets underway at the end of next month with Thanksgiving, Halloween can also be seen as a jump-off point of sorts.
The National Retail Federation anticipates more people will be participating in Halloween this year as the pandemic eases, meaning more dollars will be spent. A record $10.1 billion was spent on Halloween in 2021, and that’s expected to rise to $10.6 billion this year. Just under 7 in 10 Americans say they will participate in some Halloween-related festivities.
Costumes are the biggest cost. The estimated total spend for 2022 is $2.9 billion, combining costumes bought for kids and adults. That’s the largest estimate since 2017. Of course, with inflation sending food prices soaring, candy prices are up this year as well.
(Not So Cheap) Sugar High
Per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, costuming materials cost more, leading to increased prices for the finished product. Fabric, supplies, and sewing machines were up 11% year-over-year as of last month.
Meanwhile, people will be paying more to keep those trick-or-treaters happy. Candy prices are up 13.1% in comparison to 2021. That’s the largest single-year jump ever recorded in the CPI. For reference, in the nine-year stretch from 1997 to 2006, candy prices rose by the same amount.
The most basic explanation for this rise is similar to that of costumes: increased raw material costs. Both sugar and flour are up in price. Production of both has been poor this year, and supply chain disruptions remain a factor as well, sending prices higher.
Who You Gonna Call? Budget Busters!
While there may not be much you can do about the rising price of candy, some evergreen money-saving tips can be used, especially come the holiday season. For example, organizing a bulk purchase at Costco (COST) or Sam’s Club (WMT) can help save among several families who are expecting trick-or-treaters.
You could also find better prices shopping locally for pumpkins and other seasonal produce. Local farms or garden supply stores may have lower prices in comparison to big-box retail stores.
Finally, getting crafty can pay off. Visiting stores like Goodwill can help you “do it yourself” with secondhand costume and decoration ideas. In fact, a survey from Goodwill indicates 66% of people who prefer to make their costumes themselves find inspiration on social media. So get searching – and hopefully saving – en route to a fun Halloween that won’t cause a financial fright.
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