A recent poll found that nearly 9 in 10 Americans are afraid of the economy.

It’s the spookiest season of the year and Americans are more scared of the economy than the monsters in their closet.

Over a third of respondents in a recent WalletHub survey said that they think their finances are a horror show.

“[That’s] because they are realistic. Most people don’t have much in savings, debt levels are rising, prices are inflated, the stock market has been turbulent, and the short-term economic outlook is gloomy,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “That’s a recipe for horror right there.”

While they can’t fix the economy, most people are doing what they can to ease the stress. About 8 in 10 are spending less on Halloween this year.

But even after slashing their budget, 41 percent of Americans are most afraid of inflation. Unexpected emergencies, job loss, and a lack of retirement savings are also at the top of the list.

Many of them are now having nightmares about money.

“Makes sense considering that millions of people live paycheck to paycheck and have little in savings,” Gonzalez said. “With persistent inflation and widespread concern about a protracted recession that could push unemployment up from near record lows, there is indeed plenty for people to worry about.”

Credit cards and candy

Americans are spending less than last year, but according to the National Retail Federation, they’re still dishing out a grand total of $10.6 billion.

On candy alone, U.S. consumers will spend $3.1 billion.

And even though 3 in 5 Americans say credit cards are a trick, not a treat, many are still willing to overspend.

LendingTree found that nearly 4 in 10 are spending more money on Halloween activities and items than they can actually afford. That’s a 3 percent jump from last year.

Inflation means that costs creep up. So, many respondents who overspent said they “didn’t expect to spend so much, but it all added up.”

“Everything is more expensive these days,” said LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz. “However, consumers may be more likely to skimp on the candy they offer, opting for smaller portions or less-known brands that might be a little easier on the budget.”

Find out: Both the Broke and Wealthy are Getting Clobbered by Inflation

The fear of missing out

Most consumers are trying to protect their budget this spooky season.

But some Americans are intentionally going all out. Overspenders said they wanted to beat their neighbor’s decorations, look good on social media, or just didn’t want to miss out on what their friends were doing.

High earners and parents with kids under 18, however, are the most likely to spend big.

“Any parent with young kids can tell you what a big deal Halloween is,” Schulz said. “It’s a day when families can create memories that will last a lifetime. However, creating those memories can be really expensive.”

From handing out candy to going out with friends – everyone celebrates Halloween differently. No tradition, however, is worth the debt.

Because of rapid inflation, interest rates are also hitting new highs. So any debt you take on now will come back to haunt you later.

If debt is already giving you nightmares though, Debt.com can help.

Find out: How to Survive 10 Financial Horrors

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About the Author

Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning is a Certified Debt Management Professional. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2021 with her bachelor’s degree in journalism. At FAU she served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, the University Press. During her time there, the paper saw an increase in content production, readership, and engagement. Before she even graduated, Gillian was published in various outlets such as South Florida Gay News and the Boca Raton Tribune.

Published by Debt.com, LLC