National Retail Federation survey says people are expecting to spend less on costumes and candy this Halloween. Local retailers hope not, saying the holiday falling on a Saturday may be a big help. 

Nationally, people are saying they’ll spend less on Halloween this year. Local retailers hope they’re fibbing.


A survey by the National Retail Federation reveals people will spend 15 percent less on Halloween this year compared to last year, saying they’re pinching pennies in the tight economy.


The drop is across the board, too, as fewer people will be dressing in costumes, carving pumpkins, having a party, visiting a haunted house and handing out candy, compared to last year, the federation said.


Total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $4.75 billion nationally.


Yet, local retailers take hope, believing that people are saying one thing and doing another.


ITZAPARTY! in Stoughton, Mass., which carries costumes, accessories, decorations and candy, is expecting a moderate growth in sales compared to last year, said Jeff Arns, Stoughton ITZAPARTY! manager.


“Halloween is on a Saturday this year, so we are expecting it to grow,” Arns said.


The Halloween selling season started about one week ago, and sales have been good so far, Arns said.


Donald Savoie, owner of Don’s Joke Shop in Quincy, isn’t quite as optimistic. He sells masks, wigs and accessories, and in the past, only gets last-minute Halloween business.


Four years ago, Halloween customers would start coming in two weeks ahead of time. Now, Savoie is lucky if he gets a one- or two-day bump in business.


“The last three years, Halloween has been nothing,” Savoie said. “A lot of it, I think, has to do with the economy.”


Even if people are spending less on Halloween, iParty – with five locations on the South Shore – believes it will be still looking for Halloween fun, said Dorice Dionne, iParty senior vice president of merchandising.


The chain’s stores carry kids’ costumes at $9.99 and has adult costumes for under $20. Customers can also by inexpensive accessories to create their own costumes.


“A lot of adults really buy a lot of accessories,” Dionne said. “There are a lot of creative ideas and not spend a lot of money.”


Brad Kane may be reached at bkane@ledger.com.