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White Plains Families Halloween Shop on a Budget

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – No holiday rivals Christmas or Halloween at the Palombo home, which is why Joe Palombo, 47, of White Plains, said he wouldn't consider cutting back on his kids' costumes despite the slumping economy.

"I didn't want to cut back on costumes. The just love them," said Palombo, who publishes music guides for beginners for Rock House Method. "We did cut back on decorations at the house because they cost so much."

This year, the Palombo yard will be decked out with a faux graveyard, "scary" blow up characters, and mannequin heads strewn across the hedges.

Dante Palombo, 8, plans to be a crypt master who ushers away the dead and his sister, Darla, 6, will dress up as a butterfly. The family is eager to continue its tradition of attending haunted houses.

Families like the Palombos have been more likely to buy complete Halloween costumes this year than last fall, according to Joe Crivelli, a floor representative at Halloween Costume Discounts, a pop-up store on Court Street.

"People are more into it this year. They want to get a little edge off of what's going on in the economy," said Crivelli, who worked a different Halloween shop last year.

There were 41 million potential trick-or-treaters aged 5-14 in the United States last year, according to a 2010 report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. Census Bureau also notes that, in 2009, there were 1,719 costume and clothing rental establishments across the nation.

A 2007 Gallup Panel survey found that Americans spent an average of $52 on Halloween merchandise, “spread about equally among costumes, decorations and candy.” The total household expenditure jumped to $82 for households with children under 18 years old, “with a bit more emphasis on costumes.”

But with the scarier-than-a-Halloween-slasher-flick prospect of a double dip global recession haunting the homes and wallets of millions of Americans this October, it’s easy to imagine more families spending less money on dressing up, and choosing “do-it-yourself” costumes instead.

Will you be cutting back on Halloween costumes, candy or decorations this year? Why or why not? Is Halloween among your favorite holidays? Join the conversation below.

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