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    The trick for retailers is to sell more treats this Halloween — and beyond

     A boy wears a pirate's costume after a Halloween party. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, file)

    A boy wears a pirate's costume after a Halloween party. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, file)

    Retailers are rejoicing that Oct. 31 arrives next Friday, ensuring big sales from trick-or-treaters and those planning big Halloween parties through the weekend. Businesses then set their sights on spending through the winter holiday season — which can make or break the entire year’s worth of sales for many.

    We check in with Frank Newport, editor on chief of the Gallup Poll, to look at what Americans are telling us about their anticipated shopping this year. Are they in the spending mood?

    The average this year is $781, about the same as last year — a pretty good predictor of what spending will be like — but not nearly as high as it was before the recession.

    Will shoppers use their credit cards? Maybe not. Americans’ No. 1 crime worry this year is having their credit card or banking information hacked. This far outweighs concerns about “normal” crimes, such as break-ins, car theft and muggings.

    With so much going on in the world today, what’s the latest on what Americans consider to be the most important problem facing the nation? It’s not crime. Topping the list this month are the economy, dysfunctional government and jobs.

    Is now a good time to find a high-quality job? Less than one-third of Americans think so. Compare this to the dot-com boom, when more than 70 percent of Americans said it was a good time to find a job.

    And new data may confirm the obvious, but they show that there is an unusual relationship between certain aspects of well-being and having children in the home. Some good news (people with kids are more apt to smile and laugh than those without) and some bad news (parents are more likely to experience high stress than adults without children).

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