Planned celebrations near pre-pandemic levels
WASHINGTON – Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion this year, the National Retail Federation said Wednesday. That’s up from $8.05 billion in 2020.
“Americans plan to spend more than ever to make this Halloween a memorable one,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers have implemented a number of measures, such as bringing in Halloween products earlier than normal, to ensure their shelves are stocked with seasonal candy, décor and other items ahead of this important holiday.”
NRF’s annual survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, found that plans to celebrate Halloween are up this year compared with last year and are close to pre-pandemic levels. An estimated 65% of Americans intend to celebrate Halloween or participate in Halloween activities this year, up from 58% in 2020 and comparable with 68% in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. Households with children are much more likely to celebrate Halloween (82%) than those without (55%).
The top ways consumers are planning to celebrate include handing out candy (66%), decorating their home or yard (52%), dressing in costumes (46%), carving a pumpkin (44%) and hosting or attending a party (25%).
With more Americans celebrating Halloween this year, average spending is also up. On average consumers plan to spend $102.74 on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards — $10 more than they planned to spend last year.
Households with children are estimated to spend more than twice the amount of households without children ($149.69 compared with $73.57) on Halloween items. The number of Americans planning to decorate for Halloween is on par with last year’s spike in interest, with spending on decorations continuing to climb to $3.17 billion, up from last year’s $2.59 billion. Total spending on costumes is the highest it has been since 2017 at $3.32 billion.
Consumers are also shopping for Halloween items earlier than ever, the survey found, with 45% planning to shop in September or earlier and another 39% planning to make their purchases during the first two weeks of October.
“This year in particular, we see an emphasis on Halloween spending from families,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Not only are those with children intending to spend more on Halloween-related items like costumes, they are also getting a kick start on their shopping, with more than half planning to start their shopping in September or earlier.”
Interest in pet costumes remains high with one in five intending to dress their pet up for Halloween this year. Younger adults are more likely to dress their pets in costume, as 28% of those aged 18–24 and 30 percent of those aged 25–34 plan to do so.
Comic book characters are popular costume choices for kids, with more than 1.8 million children plan to dress as Spiderman, more than 1.6 million as their favorite princess, more than 1.2 million as Batman and more than 1.2 million will dress as one of their other favorite superheroes.
The survey found adults gravitating toward traditional costume options. More than 4.6 million adults plan to dress like a witch, more than 1.6 million as a vampire, more than 1.4 million as a ghost, more than 1.1 million as a cat and another 1.1 million as a pirate.
The most popular costumes for pet lovers include a pumpkin (10%), hot dog (5%), superhero or cat (each tied at 4%) and bumblebee (3%).
The survey asked 8,061 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted September 1-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.