Columbia prepares for Halloween weekend

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COLUMBIA - According to the National Retail Federation, about 157 million people will celebrate Halloween this year, with projected spending to be an estimated $6.9 billion nationwide. 

Columbia residents are out planning their costumes, and buying up treats to contribute to that number. 

"We are in the market for candy," said Richard Hopkins, a Columbia resident and father of two. "I bet we'll spend thirty bucks or so."

Hopkins said his wife makes his children's costumes. This year his oldest daughter will be Alice from "Alice in Wonderland," and his youngest will be Max from "Where the Wild Things Are."

"Man, we probably spend fifty to hundred on the costumes by the time it's all done," Hopkins said.  

The National Retail Federation said Halloween shoppers will spend an average of $74 on costumes, candy and decorations. 

The manager of Columbia's Spirit Halloween said the store is prepared for its "money days" this week when people come in to spend large amounts for last minute costumes and candy. 

The store was buzzing with business this past week. The manager told me it gets so busy she often feels it's understaffed.

Hopkins said all of the money and effort is worth it in the end. 

"It's a different experience when we have little ones. It's a lot of fun to see them trick-or-treating," he said.