By Karen Axelton

According to the annual National Retail Federation Halloween spending survey, some 161 million people will celebrate Halloween – the biggest number in the 10 years the NRF has conducted the survey. Total spending on the holiday will reach $6.86 billion.

The average household will spend $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, an increase over the average of $66.28 last year. Consumers overall are expected to spend $1 billion on children’s costumes — up from $840 million last year — and $1.21 billion on adult costumes, up from $990 million last year. Don’t forget the 15 percent who plan to dress up their pets; some $310 million will be spent on pet costumes.

Some 43.9 percent say they will dressĀ  in costume (up from 40.1 percent in 2010), and 34.3 percent will hostĀ  or attend a party (up from 33.3 percent last year). Some 73.5 percent will hand out treats, 49.5 percent will decorate their homes, 47.8 percent will carve a pumpkin, and 32.9 percent will take children trick-or-treating.

Hot decor this year will include life-size skeletons, giant inflatable pumpkins and artificial cobwebs, with consumers planning to spend $19.79 on decor and $21.05 on candy. But even though the numbers say consumers are spending more, they want to think they’re spending less – 32.1 percent say the economy has them scared, and of those, 87.1 percent are trying to spend less on Halloween.

Image Courtesy Karen Axelton