A Scary Economy Spooks Halloween Shoppers

Trick-or-treaters say they're scrimping on costumes

Kristen Fraser wants her two boys to have a bucket-full of fun on Halloween night. But this year, Kristen is also looking for bargains. She got a great deal on son Max's costume, and said merchants appear to know that shoppers are watching their pocketbooks, on the year's "scariest" holiday. "I just see a lot of costumes that are on sale before they normally may have been," Fraser said.

One survey predicts that consumers will spend almost $6 billion nation-wide this year. That's in part because Halloween falls on a Friday, so there will be more parties, compared to a weekday holiday. The National Retail Federation says the average shopper will spend $66.54 this year, compared to $64.82 during last year's Halloween.

But Abraham Issa, owner of Buffalo Breath Costumes in San Diego's Middletown area, says his customers are definitely hunting for bargains. "I'm sure the economy has a lot to do with it. People are not doing as much as they were. They're all having parties, but they're not spending as much," Issa said.

Still, Buffalo Breath's huge store was crowded with shoppers on Thursday, with one shopping day left until Halloween night. And not everyone is scrimping on this year's expenses. "I just recently graduated from college, so the economy doesn't affect me that much," said Brenda Geary. "But I think it's definitely affecting other people."

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