How US consumers are planning on celebrating Halloween this year

Halloween is back, and it’s going to be bigger than ever. After mostly missing out on a year of holiday fun, data shows that US consumers are excited to get back into the swing of things this year.

Some not-so-scary stats for this year’s spooky season:

  • The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts 65% of the US will celebrate Halloween this year, approaching the 68% who celebrated in 2019.
  • Those who are celebrating are ready to spend—a lot. Halloween spending in the US will hit an all-time high of over $10 billion this year, up from $8 billion last year and $8.8 billion in 2019.
  • The trifecta of candy, costumes, and decorations will each make up about $3 billion of that figure.

... and some stats for sweet tooth season: One of the big perks of the online shopping boom last year means we have a treasure trove of data on people’s candy buying habits. releases an interactive map with their sales data each year detailing each state’s favorite candy.

  • 2020’s winner? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which also stole the #1 spot from Skittles in California. New Yorkers like Sour Patch Kids the best, and Texans are Starburst fans.

… and apparently it’s Spider-Man season? More than 1.8 million children plan to dress as Spider-Man, the NRF estimates, making it the most popular costume for kids.

  • It’s also the 9th most popular costume for young-at-heart adults. Bonus: The costume has a built-in mask!

The post-pandemic reality: While the amount of people celebrating is returning to 2019 levels, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all celebrating the same way they did two years ago. Social distancing is still the name of the game, especially with the delta variant and the impending rise of colder weather.

  • Compared with 2019, fewer people plan to throw or attend a party (25% versus 32%) or visit a haunted house (18% versus 22%), per the NRF.
  • Instead, more people plan to do homebound activities, like decorate their houses (52% versus 49%) and dress up their pets (20% versus 17%).
  • That shows in expected spending. Without big parties or events to attend, costume spending was the only category not to hit an all-time high, barely edged out by 2017 spending.
  • However, both decorations and candy will see a rise in spending of more than half a billion dollars. Greeting cards will also see a huge boost, up 50% since last year to a cool $0.66 billion.

What’s next? People already had a year to get used to a pandemic-era Halloween, and their plans for this year show a willingness to spend on alternative ways to celebrate, rather than hold out for “normal.” That’s a good sign for the upcoming holiday season, too.

With people happily getting back into celebration mode—and armed with ideas of how to celebrate safely—early predictions by the NRF, Deloitte, and Mastercard are all more optimistic about this year’s holiday season.