SARASOTA, FL-- From decorations to costumes Halloween has become big business and is now being celebrated by all ages."
"I love Halloween it puts me in a great mood," said P. J. Sorma.
For Halloween Sorma was a navy service woman and she didn't stop with her costume. She made sure her the tube dude in front of her barber shop got in on the action. And Sorma isn't alone. Further down Main Street in Sarasota, the wait staff at Patricks 1481 was also in the spirit.
"I have grandkids so its a lot of fun for us," said Liz Avis from Patrick's.
She says their costumes varied from Jabba the Hutt-- to butterflies.
For most people Halloween is the only time of the year when it's ok to pretend to be someone or something else.
"I am a cross between a witch and Morticia," said
Karen Galkoff, is the owner of Fringe Hair Salon and she says she a newbie to celebrating Halloween and she encouraged all her stylist to dress up.
"I absolutely love it. In England we so don't do it, its very understated in England. But here, we were driving down the street and we saw all those people dressed up walking along and I literally had to stop the car and it was fantastic. And, I'm so pleased that we can be a part of it," added Galkoff.
Galkoff's excitement is not rare. Its estimated that more than 158 Million people celebrated Halloween this year. One of the owner of LTM Party Store say those numbers translate to a lot of money.
"The Nation Retail Federation gives numbers every year and the figures is in the billions," said Craig Ritchie.
To be exact that number is $6.9 billion. It includes Halloween costumes for adults, children, and pets. as well as candy and decorations. In addition the National Retail Federation also says the overall, average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7% since 2005. But, not everyone is happy with the increased popularity.
"No shade of the dead is going to be frightened by a big baby costume,"
said a man wearing a Mephistofelts costume. Mephistofelts is a demon featured in German folklore. And, the man says Halloween has become too commercialized and its meaning has changed.
"This is one of the points of the year where the veils between the living and the dead is at it thinnest. And, the shades of the dead wonder freely to cause mischief or to hold congress with the living. It ought to be celebrated in like fashion. The treats are there but where are the tricks. The tricks are discouraged," said Mephistofelts.
But regardless of the opinions one things for sure Halloween has defiantly grown in popularity.