I used to have the best Halloween parties. One year, my husband and I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. He was the wolf, of course. The theme that year was children’s story characters. Another year, everyone came as his or her favorite science fiction character. The parties stopped because, well, life, three children and work got in the way. I miss the parties. But I don’t miss the spending.
As frugal as I am, I would spend more than I intended buying decorations for the party and costumes for the family. A wolf head ain’t cheap.
No longer are many parents simply buying inexpensive, plastic Halloween masks for their kids. Nope. Halloween has become a big deal, “a sort of dress rehearsal for the mass-spending hysteria” that follows with the Christmas holiday, writes Janice D’Arcy in the On Parenting blog for The Washington Post.
“This year I purchased [Halloween] decorations for the first time,” D’Arcy said. “I am not a holiday decoration kind of gal, but something about my daughters’ enthusiasm (or marketers’ persuasion) has convinced me to pay good money for a garland of paper spiders and googly-eye stickers for pumpkins. Judging from national trends, I am not alone here.”
A National Retail Federation survey found that consumers will spend more than $8 billion on Halloween celebrations. The average person will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 last year.
The NRF survey found that more than 70 percent of Americans, the most it has ever recorded in its 10 years of tracking such things, will celebrate Halloween in some capacity this year, D’Arcy reports.
Just on pets, consumers are expected to spend $370 million on costumes this Halloween, reports Time magazine, $70 million more than last year.
“Expect to see dogs dressed as tacos, skunks, crayons, dinosaurs, chefs, princesses, leprechauns, flowers, and even as Gumby…. if you can imagine it, there’s a costume. Last year’s top-selling costumes were pumpkins, devils, and hot dogs,” writes the Times’ Kit Yarrow.
“By the time Halloween rolls around each year it’s safe to say Americans have already spent two months preparing for one of the fastest-growing and most widely-loved holidays of the year,” said NRF president and chief executive Matthew Shay.
Chat With Me Today
Join me today at noon ET for my online discussion with Jim Moorhead, author of “The Instant Survivor: Right Ways to Respond When Things Go Wrong,” the Color of Money Book Club selection for October.
Be sure to send your comment in early or read the archives later.
Graduating to a Pay Gap
One year after graduation, women were making only 82percent of what their male colleagues were paid, reports Jenna Johnson of The Washington Post, according to a new report by the American Association of University Women released on Wednesday.
The gender pay gap has been a debatable statistic. Amanda Hess writes in Slate’s Double X blog that Cornell labor economist Francine Blau sets the current wage gap at 77 cents on the man’s dollar. She reports that when comparing fulltime working men and women, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that women make 81 percent of what men make. The gap is highest for women at the top—among lowest-paid workers, women make 90 percent what men do.
“Those numbers are evocative, but the ‘wage gap’ is a deceptively simple term for the complex differences that persist between male and female workers in our big, gendered economy,” Hess wrote. “The figure is really a snapshot of how women are undervalued across the workforce: It speaks to an occupational segregation gap, a negotiation gap, a promotion gap, a self-promotion gap, a mentorship gap, a parenting gap, a STEM gap, a political representation gap, and an overt discrimination gap. And still: Part of the wage gap remains unexplained. We do not know exactly why women are paid less.”
Often the gap is attributed to men picking careers with higher salaries, women slowing their careers after having children and differences in work experience, Johnson writes.
But AAUW researchers decided to look at workers when they are most similar — freshly done with their undergraduate studies, lacking vast experience and unlikely to have spouses or children. They focused on graduates during the 2007-08 school year and zeroed in on full-time workers to research what they earned in 2009, one year after graduation.
The women made only 82 percent of what the men were paid, with the average woman making $35,296 while men were paid an average of $42,918, Johnson writes.