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How to avoid Halloween shopping tricks

According to the National Retail Federation, people will spend an average $86 on items for the holiday, making retail spending a $9 billion industry this year. (WCHS/WVAH)

Halloween time means big business.

According to the National Retail Federation, people will spend an average $86 on items for the holiday, making retail spending a $9 billion industry this year. This makes for plenty of chances for businesses to try and pull one over on you. But if you don't want to be tricked, there are few things you need to know.

Some Halloween shoppers said they don't know what costume they will end up with, but there are plenty of choices.

"We might be pink ladies" said Laura, a local college student.

No matter what your costume is, protecting your purchase and what is in your wallet is a priority.

Laura's shopping friend added, "You always hear stories about people being ripped off online, so it's a worry."

Whether it's a website or pop-up Halloween store, Frank Cilona with the Better Business Bureau said to make sure your purchases are going to be secure.

"Make sure the web address says, 'https.' The S stands for 'secure,' " Cilona said. "If you're going to a pop-up store, check for a website - a legitimate site. And you do that by going back to the https method to check."

You never know if a part of your costume may need to be returned.

"Don't buy before you ask about store policy or exchanges or returns," Cilona said. "Ask and see if they are going to be there after November first. It's always good to find out."

Cilona also advises customers to shop with a credit card.

"You can dispute charges, should there be a problem," he said.

Another must is to buy from a place you know and trust, either online or in person. Longevity and familiarity go a long way in bringing business to local Halloween stores.

Autumn Dockery is the manager of the Halloween Spirit tent store in Barboursville. She said the store has popped up every year for more than a decade.

"I've been here 10 years," she said. "I have regulars that look for me every year because they know I'm going to find exactly what they are looking for."

Lauren and her friend agreed, saying, "We picked this place because it's pretty established."

Other shoppers said they were comfortable shopping at the tent store because they recognize the name, but they would be leary of others if they didn't recognize the company name.

So before you pull out your wallet, shoppers beware and be careful, so you don't get tricked before the Halloween fun begins.

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