BBB’s spooktacular Halloween tips

North Americans will spend a scary amount on Halloween this year

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

North Americans will spend a scary amount on Halloween this year.

In fact, it will be downright ghoulish as it is expected to come close to $7 billion in costumes and candy.

BBB just wants to make sure you don’t lose your head over evil entrepreneurs and shadowy scams.

“Besides Christmas, this is one of the biggest spending seasons of the year,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “There are a lot of stores that pop up this time of year and plenty of online options for costumes and decorations. We just want to make sure consumers aren’t out of pocket because of some soulless, creepy scammer.”

Pop-up store tips:

• Ask at the store how long they plan to occupy their building, going all the way to a manager if need be to get an answer.

• See if they have a website in case you need to contact them later.

• Inquire about their return policy in detail.

• Save every receipt.

• Use a credit card so you can dispute problems with the card’s issuer.

• Understand that many purchases from these stores may be considered FINAL SALE.

• Some recommend shopping nearer Halloween. Retailers may lower prices on candy, costumes, and decorations to move them out.

• Check BBB for business review.

• Remember: Buying a bunch of stuff with the intent of simply returning it after Oct. 31 is considered fraud.

Online shopping tips:

• Shop on reputable websites with https:// and the lock icon in the URL.

• Use third party pay portals like PayPal.

• Use credit cards and don’t wire money.

• Find the terms and conditions and read them thoroughly.

• Understand their return policy; online returns may take time.

Safety for your little monsters:

• Avoid dark costumes and masks that impair vision.

• Bright costumes and reflector tape are a good idea.

• Have them carry a flashlight.

• Stay in your known neighbourhood.

• Trick or treat in a group.

• Mom and dad check treats before eating.

Pet safety tips:

• Many places like to include fireworks as part of Halloween celebrations. It’s best to leave your dog or cat in your home as fireworks can make them very nervous or agitated.

• Keep your pets confined and away from the door as trick or treaters come by.

• Keep you outdoor cats inside for a few days as a precaution.

• Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy.