Some consumers in Toledo area plan to celebrate Halloween more modestly

10/10/2008
BY BRIDGET THARP
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Meredith Hustwick, of Sylvania Township, said she doesn t plan to scrimp on Madeline, in the shopping cart.
Meredith Hustwick, of Sylvania Township, said she doesn t plan to scrimp on Madeline, in the shopping cart.

Jennifer Harold wasn t worried about the prices as she propped a couple of bags of chocolate bars beside her toddler and carted down the Halloween candy aisles at the Target store on Monroe Street yesterday.

With 200 trick-or-treaters still three weeks away from her Lambertville doorstep and a spouse known to sneak a few KitKats the Mrs. Harold, 36, knows it s never too early to stock up.

My husband is a pushover and hands it out by the handful, Mrs. Harold said, adding that her candy inventory probably will reach 15 bags.

In comparison, Toledoan Debbie Galambos, 57, who said about 300 trick-or-treaters usually roam her West Toledo neighborhood, plans to cut her usual $50 candy outlay to $30 this year.

Jennifer Harold, of Lambertville, with son William, is stocking up for trick-or-treaters.
Jennifer Harold, of Lambertville, with son William, is stocking up for trick-or-treaters.

If I m buying just for a few kids it s one thing, she said. We ll probably buy cheaper candies.

With a struggling local economy and a national financial crisis in full bloom, this could be a year when consumers would be expected to pull back on Halloween spending.

However, the National Retail Federation said its surveys indicate that many people are going ahead with Halloween spending.

The average consumer will spend about $66.54 on Halloween costumes, candy, and decorations this year, up from about $64.82 last year, an increase of just under 3 percent, the federation said.

Consumers who have been anxious and uncertain for the past several months may be looking at Halloween as an opportunity to forget the stresses of daily life and just have a little fun, said Tracy Mullin, group s president.

Meredith Hustwick, 33, of Sylvania Township, is one of those who won t pinch pennies for Halloween.

She said she wasn t keeping track of the cost to dress her daughter, Madeline, as a butterfly and her husky-retriever dog, Roxie, as a bumble bee.

And Kris Pruitt, of Defiance, had more of a ballpark estimate than a budget for costumes she bought in Toledo for her daughters, Lauren, 17, and Riley, 11. I wanted to keep it under $100, Mrs. Pruitt said.

We ve been pretty fortunate, though. We haven t had to cut back much.

Julie Heerdegen, 34, of Ottawa Lake, Mich., said she can t recall how much she spent for the Halloween party she gave last weekend complete with prizes and pumpkins for a dozen friends of her daughters, ages 5 and 8.

Halloween candy sales are projected to be about $2.27 billion, up about 3 percent from last year, according to National Confectioners Association.

Spangler Candy Co., of Bryan, manufacturer of Dum Dum lollipops, is counting on Halloween for as much as 40 percent of its annual lollipop sales despite deteriorating market conditions, said Jim Knight, vice president of marketing.

Candy is one of those things that is a low-cost treat, Mr. Knight said. Whereas cars or other big-ticket items will certainly be affected, candy is still something people will spend money on and won t be affected too much by the economy.

Contact Bridget Tharp at:btharp@theblade.com or 419-724-6061.