The most frightful ghoul this Halloween season might be the specter of the weak economy, as Americans spend less on this year’s holiday than they did in 2012. A new survey for the National Retail Federation says 158 million people are expected to observe the day, down from a record 170 million in 2012. They are expected to spend an average $75.03 each on costumes, decorations, candy and other merriment, a decline from $79.82 last year.Seasonal flavor
McDonald’s Corp. is adding pumpkin-spice lattes to lure the Starbucks crowd and boost traffic. The McCafe pumpkin lattes — a mix of espresso, milk and flavored syrup — come in three sizes and are available with whole or nonfat milk. A 16-ounce latte with whole milk has 340 calories and costs $2.89. A regular coffee is $1. The lattes are being introduced this month and will sell through mid-November.Low-fat fries
Burger King wants people to feel less guilty about gobbling up its french fries. On Tuesday it launched a crinkle-cut french fry that it says has about 20 percent fewer calories than its regular fries. The chain says a small order of the new “Satisfries” clocks in at 270 calories because of a new batter that doesn’t absorb as much oil. By comparison, a small order of its regular fries has 340 calories.IMac upgrades
Apple Inc. has updated its lineup of iMac desktop computers with faster Intel Corp. chips and more support for flash-memory storage. The new iMacs will run fourth-generation, quad-core Intel processors and have faster graphics. The computers, which went on sale Tuesday, also will work with a speedier version of the Wi-Fi connection standard and PCIe flash storage.E-cigarette oversight
Forty attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday urging the agency to meet its own dead- line and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products. The letter says e-cigarettes are being marketed to children through cartoon-like advertising characters and by offering fruit and candy flavors.
The Star’s news services