You’re Spending WAY Too Much on Halloween

>>Pumpkin moneyA recent survey shows Americans plan to spend $7.4 billion on Halloween this year.

Let that sink in for a minute. Seven. Point. Four. Billion. Dollars. Spent on faux spider webs, fun-sized Twix, and plastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes—all stuff that’s good for a day, or at best, maybe a week.

Before I became a mom I had visions of my darling angels trick-or-treating in delightfully crafted homemade costumes. Spending money on Halloween was for chumps, I declared, unaware of how soon I’d be knocked off my artisanal high horse. This year, I’m ashamed to admit that at least 20 of my hard-earned dollars were handed over for a tacky, poorly constructed, and likely-flammable skeleton costume.

According to >>that same survey by the National Retail Federation, each American plans to spend $77.52 on Halloween. Besides costumes, we’re apparently shelling out for greeting cards, candy, decorations, and—deep sigh—>>pet costumes.

And it’s all in good fun, right? If you have it, you might as well spend it on things that make you happy. And who am I to judge, if dressing your Chihuahua as Magnum PI is how you get your jollies? But I can’t stop thinking about how Halloween is just the tip of the holiday spending iceberg.

>>October through December is the time when stores make the bulk of their money for the year. Under the guise of “holiday spirit” retailers prise open our wallets, guilting us into expressing our love and cheer in the most commercial way possible. As a society, we’ve fully given ourselves over to the notion that happiness comes topped with a big red bow, or that friendship has a price tag.

For those with healthy bank accounts—or at least a reasonable line of credit—the consumerism of the last quarter of the year can be delightful. For others—>>like the thousands of unemployed North Carolinians still looking for jobs—this time of year can be devastating. Instead of picking between Twizzlers or M&Ms to hand out on Halloween, these families are quietly turning out their porch lights, and hoping no one will stop by.

I don’t want to be a bummer; I love a good celebration. But our culture of affluence and waste can leave people behind. How about, instead of spending $77.52 on Halloween, you knock $20 off the top and donate it to a >>food bank, instead? As Thanksgiving marches in, with Hanukah and Christmas close behind, try adding an organization that provides winter shelter to the poor to your list? No one should feel guilty for enjoying their holidays. But surely we can share a little.

Do you think $77 is too much to spend on Halloween? How much do you plan on spending? Let us know in the comments, or Tweet us @WomenAdvanceNC.

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