(BNC) — The National Retail Federation says more than 170 million Americans were planning to spend 9 billion dollars this year for the Oct. 31st celebration of Halloween. The figure is about the same as 2017. The final tally for this year will take a while to add up.

“Consumers are expected to spend $2.7 billion on Halloween decorations and $400 million on Halloween greeting cards in addition to $3.2 billion on costumes and $2.6 billion on candy, according to the survey. The average Halloween celebrant is expected to spend $86.79, up from $86.13 in 2017,” Daily Caller said.

As if all that were not enough, now appears the newest expense for Halloween: costumes for pets.

No research has been done on brotherhood habits, as far as we know. Any attempt to quantify spooky spending must therefore fall into spookier speculation. Anecdotal evidence is risky, but we will hazard a guess: We do not see the same level of spending among our people as the survey registers, but there seems to be growing interest in goblin activities and more inclination to spend for non-necessities.

For example, these days, what congregation does not have a “Trunk and Treat” for the children? This year some have even shifted their Wednesday night Bible study to accommodate the treats.

Now, Scrooge is even present at Halloween, some will say. Why can’t the kids have a little fun? What’s wrong with promoting a safe environment for the enjoyment of our children?

Our intent is not to throw pumpkins at trick-or-treaters nor forbid having fun.

So what is the point of all this? Americans, including Christians, spend billions on frivolities. It has already been noted that Americans are entertaining themselves to death. In 2016 “the average annual expenditures during this period were $50,486” per consumer unit.

Such wasteful influence may be diluted among our people, but it is still present. Society makes its impact on the church.

Preachers and elders might include in their teaching serious warnings about irresponsible spending. Few in the brotherhood bother to point out the millions spent in non-essential purchases.

The mission of the church has barely begun. Colleges have shuttered missions departments. Churches have pared down budgets for long-distance evangelism. Many funds are funneled into feel-good benevolence. Committees are preferring short-term efforts and one-time donations, rather than investing for the long term.

All the while, the country most blessed in the world is spending in big style.

Will God’s people join them?