Families urged to budget for Halloween fun

HALLOWEEN is becoming frighteningly popular but consumers should budget for their celebrations to avoid financial horrors at Christmas, the National Consumer Agency (NCA) has said.

This comes as figures released by retail giant Tesco showed that sales of Halloween stock in Britain has surpassed those of Valentine’s Day and are on a par with the combined sales of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day stock.

Tesco UK said that it expected to take £55 million (€62m) in sales from Halloween products, compared with Mother’s Day which was responsible for £37m, Valentine’s day with £28m and Father’s Day with £20m.

A spokesperson for Tesco Ireland said an increase in the sales of the holiday stock has also been seen here, with Halloween product sales up 15%.

According to the spokesperson, pumpkin orders have also increased by 30% this year, with 52,000 pumpkins expected to be supplied to 100 Tesco stores for October 31.

They added that Barm Bracks sales are also up this year, with 20% more sold than for the same period last year and an approximate 26,000 trick or treat collection bags sold across the country so far.

However, a spokesperson for the NCA said that if people are intending to celebrate in style for Halloween, they need to consider budgeting for goods in the same way they would for Christmas.

“Given that Christmas is coming, people need to budget to make sure they do not overspend now and are put under extra financial pressure come Christmas. Shoppers should make a list of what they are going to spend on costumes and groceries and shop around for the best value.

“We would also advise that people try and reuse what they can by keeping a box for Halloween decorations to use next year, the same way they would for Christmas.”

Parents are also being warned to exercise caution and to think of their children’s safety when purchasing costumes and Halloween toys.

National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) chief executive Maurice Buckley said that Halloween is an exciting time for our children, “but there are a number of safety issues that many parents need to be aware of”.

Fun and games: Dos and don’ts

Halloween product safety advice (NSAI)

* Check labels on all costumes and accessories to ensure flame-resistance.

Look for the CE mark and the flame resistant label, which shows compliance with national and international standards.

* Look for the CE Mark on Halloween toys

If your child is carrying a plastic costume prop or toy such as a mask or a pitchfork, look for the CE Mark which show compliance with Irish and European standards.

* Halloween novelty lights: All electrical products sold in the EU, must also comply with safety standards, and must carry a CE mark.

* Face paints: These can give rise to skin reactions. Most do not pose a health risk when the directions on the label are followed and when the product is used properly. But children have more sensitive skin and are more susceptible to developing a reaction, so pay attention to comments from your children on how the face paint feels.

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