Halloween is now the second most popular family occasion behind Christmas, with parents spending more than £100 on parties for their children this year.

A new survey of 2,000 parents across the UK, carried out by Woolworths.co.uk, found that families spend an average £73 on food, decorations and other items for each party they throw throughout the year.

But at Halloween they are willing to spend an extra £42 on items such as ghoulish fancy dress costumes, accessories, decorations and sweets for trick or treaters.

The research revealed that more than one in three families will celebrate the spooky season by throwing a party this year; nearly two-thirds of children will take to the streets around October 31 to trick or treat; and over half of all parents will join in the fun this Halloween and accompany their kids.

According to the survey, the rise in the popularity of Halloween in Britain is reflected in the huge rise (2,300 per cent) in Halloween spending over the last 10 years, turning it into a £280m market.

Last year, the top searched Halloween costumes were Disney characters, Lady Gaga and pirates.

This year Woolworths.co.uk predicts ‘superheroes’ costumes to be the most popular choice following the blockbuster successes of Green Lantern, Captain America and X Men: First Class.

Batman costumes are predicted to be particularly popular with people looking forward to the cinema release of Dark Knight Rises, while vampire outfits are also expected to be in demand coinciding with the hype surrounding the latest Twilight film Breaking Dawn.