All Financial Education

The Real Cost of Halloween

October 11, 2016

Little girl in witch costume playing in autumn park. Child having fun at Halloween trick or treat. Kids trick or treating. Toddler kid with jack-o-lantern. Children with candy bucket in fall forest.

Halloween is the one time of year we all get to dress up and pretend to be someone or something we’re not. It’s a holiday that brings out our creativity and lets us celebrate with spooky costumes and candy. However, Halloween isn’t all just fun and games; but also a major contributor to the US economy.

According to the NRF (National Retail Federation), a large number of Americans participated in Halloween last year, approximately 157 million people, many of which bought a variety of Halloween related goods. Facts from the NRF also showed that Americans spent nearly $6.9 billion on Halloween costumes, candy, and decorations in both retail and online stores combined in 2015. You might say to yourself, “well that’s not that much money when you consider how many consumers there were,” but even after dispersing $6.9 billion between the 68% of Americans that purchased Halloween related items last year, the average consumer still paid almost $74.

Out of the total Halloween budget, the NRF suggests about $2.5 billion was spent on costumes last year. $1.9 billion was spent on adult costumes, $950 million was spent on child costumes, and $350 million was spent on costumes for pets. Experts predict consumers will spend approximately the same amount of money on Halloween costumes this year, but the real question is what will they spend it on? Last year’s most popular adult costumes were a witch, an animal, and Batman. The most popular children costumes were a princess, Batman, and a superhero. And last but not least, the top pet costumes were a pumpkin, a hotdog, and Batman.

The next biggest market during Halloween isn’t from decorations, but from candy. Last year, 94% of Americans spent approximately $2.1 billion on candy, with 72% of it containing chocolate. After buying all that candy, it has to go somewhere! That amounts to the average American consuming nearly 24 pounds of candy each year. It might seem unrealistic for one person to each that much candy in one year, but when you consider all those chocolate candies plus the 9 billion pieces of candy corn sold each year, it makes sense. Here are the top five candies from last year’s Halloween:

  1. Reese’s – $509.85 million
  2. M&M’s – $500.82 million
  3. Snickers – $456.91 million
  4. Hershey’s – $324.63 million
  5. Kit Kat – $306.51 million

The last major portion of Halloween sales comes from decorations. The NRF stated the Halloween decoration industry brought in nearly $2 billion last year, amounting to the average consumer spending $20.34 on decorations alone. 54 million Americans threw a Halloween party in 2015, with half of them buying decorations from discount Halloween stores, and the other half buying from grocery and party supply stores. 45% of Americans claim to participate in decorating for Halloween each year, but an even larger amount, 72%, participate in giving out candy to trick-or-treaters. So even if a house doesn’t seem spooky enough for Halloween, check it out because they might still have some good candy to offer!

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