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Americans plan to spend record $8 billion on Halloween

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Despite the economy, 170 million Americans plan to spend $8-billion on Halloween costumes, candy and decorations this year according to the National Retail Federation.

"People are looking for everything under the sun," said Randy Durso of Spirit Halloween in Winston-Salem. 

Durso says some of the hot costumes this year include characters from the movie The Hunger Games and bestselling book Fifty Shades of Grey.  

"People can be very creative and they are looking for a lot of different stuff," said Durso.

"For one night you can be what you want to be, do what you want to do, it's a night of chaos and a night of anything goes," says Eric G. Wilson, Author and Professor of English at Wake Forest University.

Wilson’s book Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck explores why humans are drawn to the dark side of life. 

Wilson says for many people it's the thrill that comes from our heart rate rising watching violence in a horror movie or the temporary mental escape from reality when we put on a costume.

"Another reason we are drawn, especially to zombies and vampires these days, not only at Halloween but with TV shows, is we like those kind of monsters because they have total control over time and space," said Wilson. 

"They don't die, they overcome death and give us a real feeling that maybe we can sort of control our lives as well,"  he added.