Consumers are expected to spend $3.29 billion on the haunting holiday this year -- up 5.4 percent from $3.12 billion in 2004, according to the National Retail Federation.
"People are looking for anything to make life happier and a little less expensive so they buy lights and little things to hang up and go in the windows and decorate their houses," said Jan Bivens, manager of The Paper Factory at Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores.
About 53 percent plan to celebrate Halloween this year with the average person spending $48.48 on merchandise -- up from $34.57 last year, according to a survey conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation.
A large spending surge is expected to come from young adults, ages 18-24, who will increase their spending by 30 percent this year over last year, or $50.75 this year compared to $38.90 last year. Spending by 25- to 34-year-
"With more young adults getting into the spirit by throwing parties and having elaborate pumpkin-carving contests, Halloween is no longer considered a children's holiday," said Phil Rist, vice president of strategy for BIGresearch.
Debbie Dirnberger, co-owner of Show Me Rentals in Sikeston, said she isn't surprised by the projections.
"Our sales are definitely up over this time last year," Dirnberger said. "Halloween has become a reason to party, and people like to get dressed up and get crazy."
Couple costumes are popular for adults, and for children, boys are vying over Darth Vader and Spider Man while girls are swapping princesses for scarier characters, Dirnberger said.
"It's nothing for people to come in and spend $100 for costumes," Dirnberger said.
In addition to purchasing costumes, more people are hosting parties and haunted houses so party supply sales have increased, too, Dirnberger noted.
"We have table decorations, and people buy masks for decorations. We had one woman who was looking for a raven -- because she really likes to decorate for Halloween -- and we had one for her," Dirnberger recalled.
According to the survey, 59 percent of consumers plan to purchase decorations while 47 percent are expected to decorate their home or yard. Party supplies and outdoor decorations are also selling in large numbers this year at the Paper Factory Outlet, Bivens said.
"It seems like we have sold more lights for the outside, and people are doing more to decorate their houses," Bivens observed.
Gasoline prices are higher, and people are staying closer to home and they enjoy it more at home if they have it decorated, Bivens said.
"People are looking to do more in fall than ever before," agreed Marissa Mills, manager of Mueller's Greenhouses in Bertrand.
From straw bales and corn stalks to mums, the average cost of outdoor fall decorations is between $30-$40, Mills estimated.
"A lot of people are just buying mums in pots and not necessarily planting them. They're buying them as a disposable item and want them for instant color," Mills said.
Mike Riney, manager of Sikeston Market Place, said the store is selling more mums and hay bales than ever before. In addition, candy sales are also at a high, he noted.
Candy remains a holiday staple with the average person planning to spend around $18 on sweets and 95 percent planning to purchase in that category, the study reported.
"Halloween's becoming more and more popular," Riney said. "It's definitely turned into a party."