The economy is still spooking shoppers. U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $56.31 on Halloween this year, down from $66.54 in 2008, according to a National Retail Federation survey.
Moreover, only 62.1 percent of those surveyed said they expected to celebrate the holiday this year, compared with 64.5 percent last year.
Economic hurdles and the turmoil in financial markets has made consumers mindful of spending. Last year's holiday season was the worst in nearly 40 years by some measures and early forecasts for the 2009 holiday season call for sales to be anywhere from up 2 percent to down 1 percent.
An International Council of Shopping Centers forecast appears to be the most optimistic so far, calling for a rise in holiday sales of 1 percent to 2 percent.
Halloween usually lands about a month before the Thanksgiving holiday. The day after Thanksgiving is the traditional start of the winter holiday shopping season in the United States.
Eighty-eight percent of consumers who said the economy hurt their Halloween spending plans also planned to spend less, the survey showed. Among other things, consumers planned to cut down on candy purchases, to reuse old decorations or make their own costumes.
That could mean more pressure on retailers to stock up on attractive, yet affordable Halloween items.
The survey, conducted for NRF by market research firm BIGresearch, polled 8,526 consumers from September 1 to September 9 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.