Trick or Treat? The Frightening Cost of Halloween Courtesy of Government


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform Foundation on Thursday, October 27th, 2011, 10:41 AM PERMALINK


Each year, parents spend $1 billion on kid costumes for Halloween. On average, for the estimated 41 million trick-or-treaters, each kid wears a costume costing almost $25 – a hefty sum for parents who know this annual investment is only going to get a few hours of use. Expensive costumes aren’t just driven by the rising costs of production, but also taxes.


There is a heavy price to pay for turning your child into their favorite storybook character or scary monster for one night – kids’ costumes are almost all made of heavily taxed synthetic fibers. On top of the state sales tax paid at the register, the government increases the cost of buying these costumes by imposing a 17 percent tariff on many of these imported costumes. Businesses not only have to absorb these costs, but also those imposed  by income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, workmen’s compensation taxes, and other payments to federal, state, and local forms of government.  

When all is said and done, government taxes compose 47.82 percent of the cost of the average kid’s costume, $11.66 of the average price.
But the government’s tricks don’t end there. The Halloween season brings with it $2 billion in candy purchases. Due to excise taxation on sweets in addition to the burden of taxes placed on the confectionery industry, the government takes a 30.81 percent bite out of the average trick-or-treaters’ candy haul.

Altogether, the cost of celebrating our scariest holiday is made all the more frightening by the costs imposed by government: hidden taxes and other costs constitute 40.91 percent of your Halloween celebration.

This amounts to a burden of $688 million or $16.80 per kid. The remaining $1.3 billion of candy not distributed during trick-or-treating represents another $406 million in taxes. Finally, after including taxes on adults for decorations and costumes the total Halloween tax bite comes to $2.7 billion.

And the cost is even higher if you attend a spooky party with alcoholic beverages, as wine, distilled spirits and beer are all subject to more hidden taxes. Going out to dinner to instead of trick-or-treating also carries higher government costs, while if you have to drive your kids to trick-or-treat, the government bite of gasoline also takes a hefty bite out of your wallet.

So if you’re still searching for that bone-chilling costume idea, we suggest you dress up as Uncle Sam.

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