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What's REALLY Scary About Halloween: The Volume of Candy Given Away & Other Halloween Statistics

If it seems like fewer trick-or-treaters are banging on your door each Halloween, you're right. In 2004, some 381,000 fewer ghosts and goblins partook in the childhood ritual than in 2003, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, 36.4 million kids between the ages of 5 and 13 did go trick-or-treating on Halloween 2004, and that doesn't even include those under and over the age range in the study.


Sixty-four percent of Americans are expected to celebrate Halloween this year.

Though trick-or-treating may be slightly down, the spirit of Halloween is bigger than ever.

"Consumers see Halloween as a seasonal celebration to bridge the gap between the end of summer and the winter holidays," said Tracy Mullin, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF). "Halloween offers a little something for everyone and, this year, people of all ages will be joining in the fun."

Almost 64 percent of consumers are expected to celebrate Halloween this year, up from 52.5 percent in 2005, according to the NRF's Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. How will Americans be celebrating?

  • Handing out candy (73.4%)

  • Dressing in costume (34%)

  • Visiting a haunted house (17.2%)

Halloween's Not Just for Kids Anymore

Schoolchildren are not the only ones that will be planning their costumes this year. Over 85 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds also plan to celebrate the spooky holiday in 2006, along with 77 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds, and 71 percent of 35 to 44-year-olds.

"Halloween has especially exploded among young adults who are celebrating with large parties and elaborate costumes, driving spending and bringing good news for retailers," said Phil Rist, vice president of strategy for BIGresearch, which conducted the NRF survey. "With the holiday falling on a Tuesday this year, young adults may begin participating in Halloween activities the weekend before and spend several days celebrating."

Halloween Spending Reaches Nearly $5 Billion

In 2006, consumers are expected to spend nearly $5 billion on Halloween celebrations, up from just over $3 billion in 2005. Per person, the average consumer is expected to spend nearly $60 for Halloween this year.

What is all this spending going toward? As Halloween is the second-biggest decorating holiday after Christmas, decorations will certainly account for some. Some 67 percent of Americans plan to buy Halloween decorations this year, and close to half will be decorating their home or yard. Further, consumers are expected to spend about $22 each on finding the perfect Halloween costume.

What About the Candy?

halloween candy

Traditional costumes are still the favorites when it comes to dressing up. The number one costume for kids in 2005 was a princess, for adults, a witch.

Candy, it seems, is still at the center of many Halloween celebrations, with 96 percent of Americans planning to purchase Halloween candy this year. Americans ate about 25 pounds of candy each in 2004, and the U.S. Census Bureau believes a large portion of this is consumed around Halloween.

Looking for some healthier options to hand out to trick-or-treaters this year (that won't cause your house to get t.p'd)? Try these:

  • Crystallized ginger

  • Chocolate-covered raisins or almonds (Almond M&M's also work)

  • Small dark-chocolate bars

  • Naturally sweetened gummi bears and licorice (sweetened with fruit juice or cane sugar, not corn syrup)

  • Fruit leather (made from 100-percent fruit)

  • Granola bars

Most Popular Halloween Costumes for 2006

Both kids and adults (34 percent of them, anyway) are expected to dress up this Halloween. The most popular costumes are still the traditional ones.

"Classic costumes will always remain Halloween favorites, despite the draw by many kids to dress as their favorite modern-day heroes," Mullin said. Here's a breakdown of the top 10 costumes for kids and adults in 2005:

2005 Top Costumes

  1. Princess
  2. Witch
  3. Spiderman
  4. Monster
  5. Darth Vader
  6. Superhero
  7. Star Wars Character
  8. Batman
  9. Ninja
  10. Clown

2005 Top Costumes

  1. Witch
  2. Vampire
  3. Actor/Famous Person
  4. Monster
  5. Pirate
  6. Angel
  7. Clown
  8. Ghost/Ghoul
  9. Zombie
  10. Renaissance Costume

And this year, don't forget to include Sparky and Snowball in the fun. Costumes exist for dogs, cats and even birds, and, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, over 3.5 million Americans are expected to buy Halloween products for their pets this year -- a huge increase from the 1 million who did so in 2002.

Recommended Reading

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So You Want to Perform an Exorcism: Here is What it Takes


The National Retail Federation

U.S. Census Bureau September 27, 2006

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