LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects Americans to break records this year when it comes to Halloween spending. The organization anticipates U.S. spending for the holiday to be around $10.1 billion.
NRF reports the average person is expected to spend about $103 on costumes, candy, decorations and cards. That's $10 more than last year.
For Lakewood costume shop owner Todd Belanger, the extra dollars are a welcome sight.
"Definitely a bounce-back year for sure," Belanger, the owner of Disguises Costumes, said. "I mean, we are busy. We are starting to run out of particular things already, which is a little bit earlier than normal. I feel very good about how the season is going, and I think we'll be okay."
Belanger was not sure if the shop would make it to the 2021 holiday season. The business owner of seven years said at one point, he thought he would have to file for bankruptcy.
"It's hard when the store is empty and you have to put in 12-hour days and you don't know what's going to happen," he said as he began to choke back tears. "It's difficult."
Belanger is no stranger to difficult decisions. He told 9NEWS he and his wife were nurses for 15 years before buying the costume shop.
"We were critical care nurses here in Denver during the H1N1 pandemic," Belanger said. "We sat in on meetings and we've got to talk about who we're taking off the ventilator and see if they survive."
While Belanger knows his struggles are nothing compared to the real nightmare inside hospitals right now, he hopes the spooky season can be a welcome distraction for all.
"People are looking for an escape," he said. "Halloween is offering a perfect opportunity for that for a lot of people."
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