By Rick Walz – President/CEO
BBB Serving Northern Indiana
Consumers are gearing up to celebrate Halloween. The National Retail Federation expects people will spend $10.6 billion, up from $10.1 billion in 2022. Among Halloween celebrants, 67 percent plan to buy candy, 51 percent plan to purchase decorations, and 47 percent will get costumes.
Those numbers can seem daunting for a single day, especially when watching the family budget. However, there are ways to keep the fun stylish and on budget. Better Business Bureau recommends the following tips this Halloween:
Look around your home. Check your closet. There are probably hidden surprises to help you throw together a killer costume! Getting creative will not only help save money but will save space, too.
Rent a costume (Facebook Link). If the idea of spending money on buying a costume isn’t quite appealing because you will only wear it once, consider renting. Renting a costume leaves room in the budget. Research rental companies on BBB.org, check the store policy regarding trying on costumes, inspect the condition of the outfit, and read the rental agreement carefully before signing anything.
Buy in bulk. It may seem counter-intuitive, but buying more can save you money! Buying in bulk lessens the cost per item. Budgeting can be especially handy on a night like Halloween, especially considering that there might be more trick-or-treaters this year. Factory-wrapped candy will last a long time, even if you have leftovers. And let’s be honest, leftovers are pretty tasty, even after Halloween.
Always check the return policy. Seasonal shops carry unique items for a short period in a temporary location or online. When shopping a seasonal vendor, understand the store’s return policy before making a purchase. Remember: Buying a bunch of stuff with the intent of simply returning it after October 31 is considered fraud.
Also, be sure to use your credit card instead of your debit card, as credit cards not only provide additional protection but it’s also easier to dispute a fraudulent charge.
Seasonal stores. If you decide to shop from a seasonal store, ask whether or not they will be open after the holiday, how long they plan to stay open, and if they will accept returns after Halloween is over. If they plan to close up shop on November 1 or refuse returns after, either consider shopping elsewhere or take more time to be sure that item is exactly what you want before making the purchase.
More tips for seasonal “pop-up” stores: 1) Ask the owner if there is a website in case you have to contact them later. 2) Save every receipt. 3) Use a credit card to dispute problem charges with the card’s issuer. 4) Make sure you are clear on what items are FINAL SALE.
Attending a special event or visiting a haunted house. Before purchasing tickets, research the group offering the experience and make sure that there are no complaints about the company hosting the event. 1) Check out the company at BBB.org. Read what previous customers have to say, and see how the business responds to complaints. 2) Check BBB Scam Tracker and see if other consumers have filed a report about the event host. 3) Search the business online by adding the word “Complaint,” “Reviews” or “Scam” after their name for different search results.
For more information and to learn how to protect yourself, Google “BBB 10 Steps to Avoid Scams”. If you spot a scam, whether you have lost money or not, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your story can help protect consumers from similar scams.