Better Business Bureau offers ‘spooktacular’ tips for Halloween

October 9, 2018

Halloween icon jack-o-lantern pumpkins

Shopping for Halloween should be fun, not terrifying. With so many costume and decoration ideas, it’s hard to choose what to buy, and where to buy it from.

According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween spending for 2018 is expected to reach $9 billion, with consumers planning to spend an average of $86.79 each. According to the survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, among Halloween celebrants, 70 percent plan to pass out candy, 50 percent will decorate their home or yard, 48 percent will wear costumes, 30 percent will take their children trick-or-treating and 18 percent will dress their pets in costumes. When it comes to purchasing costumes and other Halloween supplies, 45 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores, 35 percent will visit a Halloween store and 24 percent will shop online.

BBB TIPS: Better Business Bureau recommends the following tips to have a fun, safe holiday and to avoid getting spooked this Halloween.

Shop smart online

When shopping from an online website, the first step is to make sure the URL starts with “https” and includes a lock symbol. The S in “https” stands for secure. Look up the website’s privacy policy and contact information. If it is not clearly listed, or they only have an email as the point of contact with no further information, take that as a big red flag and shop elsewhere. Also, be sure to use your credit card instead of your debit card, as credit cards not only provide additional protection, but it’s easier to dispute a fraudulent charge.

Seasonal stores

If you decide to shop from a seasonal store, ask whether or not they will be open after the holiday, how long they plan to stay open, and if they will accept returns after Halloween is over. If they plan to close up shop Nov, 1, or refuse returns after, either consider shopping elsewhere, or take more time to be sure that item is exactly what you want before making the purchase. More tips for seasonal “pop-up” stores:

n Determine if they have a website in case you have to contact them later.

n Save every receipt.

n Use a credit card so you can dispute problems with the card’s issuer.

n Make sure you are clear on what items are FINAL SALE.

Always check the return policy

Whether shopping in a store or online, always make sure you are clear on the store’s return policy before you buy. Find out how long you must keep your receipt and what happens if you should lose the receipt.

Attending a haunted house or special event

Check out the company at bbb.org. Read what previous customers have to say, and see how the business responds to complaints. Also check BBB Scam Tracker to see if other consumers have filed a report on the event host. You can search the business online adding the word “Complaint”, “Reviews” or “Scam” after their name for different search results.

For more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips (BBB.org/ScamTips). To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/ScamTracker).

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