Tricks, or treats for the retail industry?

FRESNO, Calif.

From costumes to candy, the retail industry has high hopes, now that the economy is a little less frightening. Holiday spending has been frightening for retailers over the last couple years, but this Halloween could finally be a treat.

Thanks to the economy, and the calendar -- stores are banking on a big haul this Halloween. "It gives us three days for parties - Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so the calendar's just right for us, so we're expecting a very good finish to the Halloween season," said Spirit Halloween Senior Vice President Tony Detzi.

Americans are expected to flex more spending muscle this Halloween than last ringing up about $5.8-billion in sales and spending just over $66 on average. That's ten dollars more than last year. Whether it's going gaga for the latest trends or sticking with the classics, most of that will go to costumes.

"Accessories, costumes, wigs, everything you need to become that ultimate character," said Party City spokeswoman Ressa Tomkeiwicz.

Candy, of course, another big item -- and more spending to deck the haunted halls.

"It's not just the pumpkins and skeletons, but it's the black feather wreaths and Halloween-themed paper lanterns, a lot of nice things that kind of complement the Halloween season," said Tomkeiwicz.

And with each purchase -- scary or sweet -- retailers will be looking for signs that consumers feel less spooked by the economy, as they head into the crucial December holidays.

"Halloween is a very important holiday for them. And for many retailers it gives them a sense of what they can expect from these products as we head into the holiday season," said Ellen Davis with the National Retail Federation.

Americans are definitely not scared to dress up. 40-percent plan to wear a costume at least once, and 12-percent plan to dress up their pets as well.

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