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Keep your wallet safe from Halloween frights

The Halloween season grows in popularity every year. One way of measuring that growth is by consumers’ holiday spending during October. The National Retail Federation predicts an all-time high in spending for Halloween this year: $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion last year. On average each consumer will spend $102.74 to celebrate the spooky season. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) would like to treat readers with the following advice for avoiding trickery in the marketplace.

Your haunted basement

There may be haunts in your own basement, in the form of leftover Halloween ghosts and witchery from years gone by. It can be an excellent source for finding previous Halloweens’ decorations and costumes, to be repurposed creatively this year. Certainly, ideas abound on Pinterest and other websites for finding ways to breathe new life into Halloween trappings from years gone by. You can save money and time by digging up those old spooks and goblins now in storage in your basement. A little age on previously used items just makes them more authentic for ghostly frights.

Pop-up Halloween stores

As ubiquitous as porch pumpkins are seasonal pop-up stores selling Halloween goods. Here are BBB’s tips for making the best use of them:

• Check into how you would return merchandise if unsatisfied. (Or even whether you could return it.) During the pandemic, the rules were often changed for returning items. Are they now back to normal? Will the store even be around after Halloween? Don’t hesitate to ask such questions.

• Visit to check out the retailer’s reviews. Take the time to also do online searches, entering the business name and words like “complaints” and “reviews.”

• Whenever possible, pay with a credit card. This will make it easier to get reimbursed and settle disputes.

Shopping on the web without entanglement

There are a few steps you can take when shopping online for avoiding sticky situations:

• If the retailer is an unfamiliar one to you, check them out at You may choose to stick with the tried-and-true businesses that you have shopped with before.

• Read carefully to determine if there are any hidden shipping and handling fees.

• Save all your transaction records such as emails and texts.

• Pay with a credit card.

• Check privacy policies and contact information. Do they only have an email address? That could be a reason to beware.

• See if the website address starts with “https” and displays the lock icon. That “s” stands for secure. If it isn’t there, look elsewhere.

Removing the scariness from costume rentals

Should you choose to rent a Halloween costume, remember:

• Avoid getting the blame for someone else’s damage to the costume by checking it carefully for wear and letting the business know that it’s there before you rent.

• Try it on to be sure the fit is right.

• Get a clear explanation of the rental agreement, charges and what your responsibility is should damage occur. Return dates and fees should all be understood.

For answers to any other questions regarding Halloween transactions and safety issues, contact the BBB by calling 800-856-2417 or visit the website