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5 Reasons Halloween Isn't for Kids Anymore

Kids bounced from the costume shop

Though the National Retail Federation's Halloween spending survey is geared toward consumer intentions and in no way indicates what they'll actually buy, those Halloween plans indicate that children and parents aren't retailers' target holiday audience anymore.

This year, the NRF says that U.S. shoppers plan to spend only $1.2 billion on adult Halloween costumes, compared with only $1.04 billion on children's costumes. Granted, children's costumes tend to be less elaborate and less expensive, but that in itself should be some indication of where things stand. A full 43% of adults plan to dress in costume this year, up from 34% in 2006.

And Halloween is considered amateur hour. For more than two decades, the most dedicated adult costume designers and exhibitors have been found wandering the halls of comic/sci-fi/fantasy/video game/sex/insert-geek-category-here conventions. Cosplay isn't cheap, and requires hundreds to thousands of dollars to pull off with any degree of authenticity. Conservative estimates say it can generate nearly $500 million in spending in the U.S. alone. That's way beyond the budget of the guy phoning it in by taping single-serve boxes of Apple Jacks to himself, stabbing them with plastic utensils and calling himself a cereal killer, but it also provides some idea of how much of the costume world lies outside the pop-up shop in your old Blockbuster.

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