Gone are the days when a Halloween costume consisted of plastic fangs and (or) a slutty variation on a random occupation. Maybe we're all too addicted to Netflix streaming or simply getting lazier, but today's costumes are all about pop culture.
According to the Savers Halloween Shopping Survey, almost 50 percent of holiday revelers report being primarily inspired by movies and TV shows for their costume ideas. What are they being inspired to dress up as? The camo-wearing, big beard-sporting, shotgun-toting good ol' boys of A&E reality show Duck Dynasty and the zombies of AMC's Walking Dead.
Conducted by Kelton Research with 1,000 respondents from around the country, the Bellevue, Wash.-based thrift store chain's 2013 survey backed up similar trends from last year--Walking Dead has ruled for three years now--but also reflected some changes. According to the survey, "respondents aren't afraid to pop some tags, noting they'll spend just as much money--if not more--on their costume this year."
That data was contradicted by numbers from the National Retail Federation, which reported that nine in 10 people will cut back on Halloween spending this year--from an average $80 per person to $75. With 158 million people expected to celebrate, according to NRF's Halloween Spending Survey, that means total nationwide Halloween spending will reach about $6.9 billion--down substantially from $8 billion spent in 2012.
Despite the precipitous decline in expected returns this year, Halloween spending has grown explosively, rising 55 percent since 2005, NRF reported. Much of that growth has been attributed to spending among adults: Fully 65 percent of those in their late 20s to early 30s told NRF they would be dressing up this year. Seven in 10 survey respondents 18-24 years old said the same. Overall, that represents $1.2 billion shelled out on adult costumes--beating out the estimated $1 billion that will be spent on childrens' costumes.
But what's driving adults to increasingly celebrate a holiday traditionally reserved for kids? Social media. According to the Savers survey, almost 70 percent of those donning costumes say Facebook and Pinterest heavily influence their get-up decisions. What's more, 40 percent reported putting in extra effort on their costume because they knew their picture would end up online--and not just a few photos. An average of 10 pictures are posted per person in costume. And posted on their own social media channels. By themselves.