The Great Recession put a big dent in how Americans celebrate Halloween

Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderAmericans spend a lot of money on Halloween each year, but 2009 was a glaring exception.

Halloween is here, and Americans are gearing up to buy loads of candy and costumes.

But, as with most discretionary purchases, Halloween spending follows the twists and turns of the broader economy.

The National Retail Federation runs an annual survey of US consumers each fall, asking them about their plans for celebrating Halloween. One of the main questions asked on the survey is how much in total consumers expect to spend on Halloween staples like costumes, candy, and decorations.

Per-person spending has mostly increased over the last several years, according to the survey. But, there was a big downturn in Halloween plans in 2009. That coincides with the deepest part of the Great Recession, during which millions of Americans faced massive economic hardship amid a near-collapse of the housing market and global financial system.

Unsurprisingly, many households tightened their belts and had to cut spending on candy and costumes:

The trend in Halloween spending around the recession largely mirrors many economic indicators over the same period. Gross domestic product, unemployment, and job growth all collapsed in the years after the financial crisis before steadily increasing over the next decade.

According to the NRF’s estimates, total Halloween spending in the US this year should be around $US8.8 billion, down from last year’s $US9 billion.

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