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Pop Culture, Election Play Role in Americans’ Halloween Costume Choices

Click here for complete list of adult, children and pets costumes
Click here for Halloween spending report or read the press release.

For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202)783-7971

Pop Culture, Election Play Role in Americans’ Halloween Costume Choices
-- “The Dark Knight” Success Spurs Batman Rise--

Washington, October 2, 2008 – As more people plan to celebrate Halloween this year, consumers are looking to Hollywood and the upcoming election as their inspiration for costumes. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, an estimated 51.8 million adults plan to don some sort of costume for the big night. Their children – and pets – will also dress up for the occasion. 

While traditional costumes like witches (14.9%), pirates (4.4%) and cats (2.5%) remain favorites among adults, children are adding a bit more flair by choosing from personas Hannah Montana (#3), and Star Wars characters (#6). Other popular children’s costumes include the top-ranked princess (10.5%), witch (3.9%), Spider-Man (3.5%) and pirate (3.3%). 

“Hollywood has tremendous influence over what adults, children and even pets wear on Halloween,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO. “Consumers who have their heart set on a particular Halloween costume should start shopping now because the most popular items will go quickly.” 

Thanks to this year’s blockbuster hit The Dark Knight, Batman landed a spot on all three lists, coming in at No. 6 for adults, No. 8 for children and No. 16 for four-legged friends. The upcoming election will also play a role in costume selection this year as 574,000 adults plan to dress up as a political figure. 

 “Halloween will serve as a nice reprieve for many Americans this year,” said Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy at BIGresearch. “Whether they host their own party or hit the streets trick-or-treating with their children, consumers want Halloween costumes to reflect their creativity.”  

Total Halloween spending for 2008 is estimated to reach $5.77 billion.* 

About the Survey 

The NRF 2008 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the Halloween season. The surveys were conducted for NRF by BIGresearch. The poll of 8,167 consumers was conducted from September 2-9, 2008. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch's syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 7,500 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace. 

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2007 sales of $4.5 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. www.nrf.com.