There’s a house on a quiet street in Fairfield, Connecticut that delights in the macabre – the dark side of Halloween, the tricks before the treats. It’s where ravens, rats and mummies are treasured guests… a place where Halloween is far more than a day on the calendar.
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Jeannie Finlay started Halloween decorating in earnest 18 years ago when her four children were young.
“People started commenting that they thought it was so cool, so we started adding a little more the next year and the next year and it got out of control somehow. It’s become quite a fetish around here.”
Finlay adds one new feature each year. The fog machine was $150, as was Dracula. This year’s addition, Dracula’s Bride, rang in at $79.
Not to mention the cost to feed the costumed ghosts and goblins who come haunting on Halloween and looking for treats. Finlay expects more than 400 trick-or-treaters this year.
“It’s about $400 in candy because we get the full size bars from BJ’s.”
The spirit of Halloween is alive and well in 2011. The average American is expected to spend more than $72 on costumes, decorations and candy this year, up $5 from a year ago. The final tally, according to the National Retail Federation, is $6.9 billion.
Candy stores stand to benefit from that big business as customers nab gummy brains, bats and teeth. Sweet Rexie’s, in Fairfield, expects sales will be flat or slightly higher than last year, though enthusiasm has been high.
“Everyone’s been really excited. Everyone’s been calling about make your own haunted house and coming around shopping for all different candies.”
More people than ever are expected to join in on the Halloween celebrations this year, according to the NRF.
Big Halloween sales may stir up hopes consumers will cast a good spell on retailers ahead of the key holiday shopping season.
Bottom line: Despite signs of a pick up, it is still a spooky time for the U.S. economy. But a trip to the scary suburban town of Fairfield, Connecticut shows that Americans are ready to spend more for a ghostly Halloween time.