As kids growing up in Las Vegas, Jarrod McClung and his 13 siblings sometimes missed out on haunted houses around Halloween.
The family simply couldn’t afford the cost of admission.
So in McClung’s view, his annual tradition of turning his Las Vegas home into a haunted house — a tradition that he estimates has cost him around $30,000 over 14 years — is a gift to the neighborhood.
“I don’t charge or take donations,” said McClung, 46. “I’ve never had anyone complain. Everyone has a good time.”
McClung’s spending far outpaces the national average when it comes to Halloween spending — $86.79 per person, according to the National Retail Federation.
Still, the Retail Association of Nevada expects Halloween spending in Nevada to exceed $140.4 million, close to last year’s record high, according to a statement earlier this month.
Bryan Wachter, the trade group’s senior vice president, said spending on decorations is up 2.9 percent this year compared to last year.
But other Halloween items, like costumes and greeting cards, are down 2.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Spending on some items for Halloween, like candy, stay pretty flat year to year because people consistenly buy candy around this time to give out for trick-or-treaters, Wachter said.
Nationwide spending for Halloween is expected to reach $9 billion, about the same as last year.
Among the biggest winners on Halloween — discount stores. National Retail Federation data show 45 percent of shoppers this year will buy costumes and supplies at discount stores, about the same as previous years.
For Goodwill of Southern Nevada, Halloween is the busiest time of the year, said Brandy Aguirre, the nonprofit’s district director. While new costumes at stores start at $30, she said, Goodwill tries to sell used outfits and costumes starting at $5.
A nationwide survey from Goodwill Industries International showed 69 percent of people who make their own costumes will find inspiration online, usually Pinterest. Fifty-two percent of those costume makers will shop at a thrift store.
A family affair
McClung buys items throughout the year for his haunted house. He’s found items through social media websites, temporary Halloween stores and warehouse-style stores like Costco. His neighbors sometimes donate candy.
His annual costs include $1,200 on storage, $300 on face painters and limiting himself to $350 on candy. His most expensive one-time purchase: a $2,800 electric chair.
To avoid people stealing his decorations, McClung, who owns a series of pawn shops called Mr. Pawn, and his volunteers start assembling the haunted house on Halloween around 5 a.m.
What was once a small attraction on his driveway has grown to about six themed rooms and about 20 volunteer actors.
Even members of his large family come out to help. A sister of his in San Diego has developed a similar reputation for her Christmas decorations. But McClung takes that holiday off.
“I put up a wreath and that’s it,” he said.
Decorators should mind their local associations’ rules, said Ami Reynaga of Complete Association Management Co., which manages over 300 communities in the state.
Some Homeowners Associations outline rules for decorations going over property lines and decorations that play loud music or come with flashing lights. Residents can check the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for the community or ask a community manager, Reynaga said.
HOAs can also tell the community whether gates will open or close for outside trick-or-treaters, she said. Some have rules about when decorations can go up and when they have to come down.
The Mountain’s Edge Master Association, for example, limits holiday decorations to 30 days before the holiday and 30 days after the holiday, a rule in place since 2005, community manager Gary McClain said.
1200 South 16th St, Las Vegas, NV
- Settle Down to Watch Some Ghostly Haunted House Movies This Halloween
- Las Vegas’ affordable housing shortage at crisis level, advocates say
- Local startup grows from Las Vegas pool house to downtown Las Vegas
- Group selects Las Vegas in effort to boost education beyond high school
- New complex chips away at Las Vegas affordable housing crisis
- Agency OKs $12.3M to renovate Las Vegas public housing complex
- Las Vegas education program helps parents, LGBTQ youth
- 24 to graduate from Las Vegas program that helps ex-inmates
- Las Vegas Valley housing honcho: Solutions start with community