Americans are ready to Halloween like it's 2019

With Halloween participation returning to pre-pandemic levels, NRF forecasts record consumer spending.

Americans are ready to Halloween like it's 2019
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

America is ready to get spooky again.

The news: Halloween participation is set to return to pre-pandemic levels, lighting the way to record spending, according to a new forecast from Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Key findings: Prosper surveyed 8,283 consumers from September 1-6. It found the following:

  • Participation in Halloween activities is expected at 69% this year, up from 65% in 2021 and similar to the 68% participation in 2019.
  • Spending is expected to reach $10.6 billion. That would be a record over 2021’s $10.1 billion.
  • Candy haul: Consumers are expected to spend $100 on average on candy. That’s on par with the average of $103 in 2021. This, even after Hershey warned that supply chain challenges could leave bowls a little lighter.

Participation breakdown: Consumers plan to participate in Halloween in the following ways:

  • Two-thirds will hand out candy
  • About half will decorate their home or yard
  • 47% dress in costume
  • 44% will carve a pumpkin
  • 28% will throw or attend a Halloween party
  • 20% will dress their pet up in a Halloween costume

Halloween spending is getting a boost from increased participation, says NRF. (Courtesy photo)

Key quote: “Halloween is an exciting time for many families, and that enthusiasm is reflected in the number of Americans who plan to celebrate the holiday this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, in a statement. “As consumers continue to return to pre-pandemic behaviors, retailers are prepared to meet that demand and help make this holiday a fun and memorable one.”

Dressing the part: Ted Lasso mustaches and sexy vampire getups are big business. Halloween costumes account for the biggest chunk of the Halloween consumer brew. This year, costume spending is expected to reach $2.9 billion, which is the highest level since 2017. Pet spending, in turn, is forecast to reach $710 million, which would also be above 2022's record.

Social costuming: When it comes to inspiration, online searches are the largest source of costume ideas, with 36% of consumers saying they turn to social media. Meanwhile, one-quarter said they will look in stores, and 19% said they will turn to friends and family.

“Social media is playing an increasingly important role in consumer behavior, and Halloween is no different,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Younger consumers, particularly those under the age of 25, will look to platforms like Instagram and TikTok for costume inspiration this year.”

Like the end-of-year holidays, Halloween season starts early. Nearly half of consumers, (47%), start shopping in September or earlier.

Where they shop: When it comes to the channel for purchases, 40% of consumers plan to purchase from discount stores, 36% will go to a costume shop and 31% will shop online. Meanwhile, 70% of adults already know what their costume will be this year.

Top costumes: Each demographic, including pets, has its own set of favorite costumes. The most popular adult costume is a witch, while for children it is Spiderman. Pets are most likely to be turned into a pumpkin.

Below is a look at the top costumes in each category:

Top Halloween costumes. (Source: National Retail Federation)

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