Nov 032015


Americans cashed out slightly less at $6.9 billion on Halloween products in 2015, according to the National Retail Federation, which amounts to a half-billion dollar drop from 2014 spending levels at $7.4 billion.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZ1AAAAJGVlMzViNzk3LTc3MjAtNDNiNy04MGU0LTZiN2FlNDk1MzYwOA - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

However, what’s been the annual trend in the past decade in spending for Halloween in America?

Our Halloween spending levels have been climbing since 2007, peaking in 2012 at $8 billion (or $80 per person on average). Be that as it may, our “Great Pumpkin” festivity spending trend has largely tapered off during the last three years, averaging around $7 billion (or about $75 per person on average) annually.

Halloween retail product and service expenditures in total by consumers generally have been trending up over the past decade in the U.S. (in billions of dollars), as follows (so detailed out here for aid to viewing the chart below for mobile device users): $5.1 (2007), $5.8 (2008), $4.7 (2009), $5.8 (2010), $6.9 (2011), $8 (2012), $7 (2013), $7.4 (2014), $6.9 (2015).

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVoAAAAJDg0YmFjYjFkLTJmNDAtNGExOC04NGE4LTVkNzBlMDg0N2VhNw - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

Average Halloween 2015 expenditures for young people came to $76.15 (for millennials aged 18-24) and $97.97 (for Generation Ys aged 25-34). These figures may be compared to an average $87 spent by young adults in 2014.

In contrast, average Halloween 2015 spending for people of all ages (including children) came to $74 in 2015 (slightly less than $78 spent in 2014).

Average retail spending per consumer of Halloween products and activities has trended up over the last decade in the U.S., as follows (so detailed out here for aid to viewing the chart below for mobile device users): $65 (2007), $67 (2008), $56 (2009), $66 (2010), $72 (2011), $80 (2012), $75 (2013), $78 (2014), $74 (2015).

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOpAAAAJDNhYjVhZjI1LWU0ZTAtNDg0YS04NGUwLWFmMjM2MThkMDRkZQ - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

Looking more completely demographically, average engagement in Halloween 2015 spending was broken down generationally at:

  • $76.15 (for Millennials aged 18-24);
  • $97.97 (for Generation Ys aged 25-34);
  • $96.41 (for Generation Xs aged 33-44);
  • $75.95 (for Baby-Busters aged 45-54);
  • $56.50 (for Baby-Boomers aged 55-64);
  • $44.53 (for Great Generations aged 65 and older).

Along gender lines, Halloween shoppers spent on average: $83.91 (among men) and $65.26 (among women).

Charlie Brown 5

When considered in relation to family incomes, average expenditures on Halloween 2015 was $60.85 (for households making under $50K) and $84.03 (for households bringing in over $50K).

Geographically speaking, average Halloween consumer spending in 2015 across various regions of the country was:

  • $78.65 (across the U.S. northeast corridor);
  • $65.29 (in the U.S. midwest heartland);
  • $75.85 (down in the U.S. deep south);
  • $77.85 (along the U.S. west coast).

Did you celebrate Halloween or participate in any haunting activities this year?

In 2013, 158 million people celebrated Halloween in the United States. Moreover, this amount of “The Great Pumpkin” celebration rose to 162 million in 2014.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAXNAAAAJDdjMjFlYTQ1LWJlY2QtNDg0NS04ZDFjLTQxOTRjNzQ2N2NiNg - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

Sixty-four percent of 245,273,438 American adults 18 years and older (that is, 157,086,769 folks) celebrated Halloween 2015, a drop of nearly 5 million folks, who elected to join the thirty-eight percent of us (or 88,186,669 folks) choosing to avoid the ghostly October celebrations altogether. 

For those saying not this year, did the state of the U.S. economy impact your Halloween plans? Well, 82.2 percent of men and 83.7 percent of women said not at all. Whereas, 17.8 percent of men and 16.3 percent of women said yes it did.

Given that it did, how did the U.S. economy impact your Halloween 2015 plans? 

  • 76.5 percent of men and 80.8 percent of women said they are spending less on everything overall; 
  • 17.8 percent of men and 18.7 percent of women made a costume(s) instead of purchasing; 
  • 17.7 percent of men and 13.3 of women resorted to using last year’s costume(s); 
  • 8.8 percent of men and 5.2% of women did not hand out candy this year;
  • 17.3 percent of men and 24.7 percent of women bought less candy this year; 
  • 9.6 percent of men and 16.8 percent of women placed up last year’s decorations with no plans to buy more; 
  • 9.6 percent of men and 13.5 percent of women did not participate in as many “Halloween” activities (i.e. haunted house, “spooky” amusement parks, fall festivals, etc.); 
  • 0.6 percent of men and 2.0 percent of women resorted to other ideas and creative solutions. 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAV3AAAAJGI0MzU5YTFhLWE0NDYtNDY5Mi04ZjgzLTE2YTQyYjU3MTYwNQ - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

Where did you look for inspiration for Halloween 2015 costumes for yourself, your child(ren), and/or your pet(s) this year?

Young adults 18-24 relied on social media for costume inspiration, including 13.1 percent logged into Facebook, 3.7 percent took to Twitter, 6.6 percent brought up Instagram, 7.7 percent looked on YouTube, 13.3 percent use Pinterest, and lastly, 2.7 resorted to ideas gained from blogs.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAX3AAAAJGRkNjdmODg1LTg2MDItNDg2NC05MjA4LTc1MzhlYTFjZmVhNA - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

But, most of us looked far and wide this year for costume selection guidance, including 13.2 percent used print media (magazines, catalogs, etc), 31.4 went online to search, 26.8 percent visited a retail or costume shop, 18.1 percent collaborated with family and friends, 13.6 percent looked to pop culture (celebrities, television, and movies, etc), 7.1 percent just simply relied on current events, 5.2 percent resorted to habit and wore the same costume as last year, as continued from each prior year, and finally, 4.5 percent of us came up with our own new costume ideas with a dash of creativity in 2015.

And, when did we begin shopping for Halloween 2015?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAU AAAAJGMxZWZjOTQ4LWE2NTgtNDhhMC04YTUxLTVjYWI1MWJjMWQzNQ - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

Well, 6.4 percent of us started really early before September, 27.7 percent Halloween shopped in September, 40.9 percent waited until the first couple weeks of October, and 25 percent of us began our costume and candy “shop till we drop” during the last two weeks before Halloween.

So, what did we buy?

Adults spent $1.22 billion in 2015 (compared to a bit more at $1.4 billion in 2014) on their costumes. And, they cashed out another $0.95 billion in 2015 (compared to slightly more at $1.1 billion in 2014) on their children’s costumes.

Americans further boosted the economy by cashing out $350 million on costumes for their pets. Most of the 23 million pets you see walking the streets and at your door for “Trick or Treats” on Halloween night dressed up as pumpkins, hot dogs and devils!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAX6AAAAJDk5NzQ1ZjQ2LTE0ZjktNDgwZS1hYjI4LTk2N2YxYmE0ZGExZQ - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

Altogether, $2.53 billion in 2015 (compared to slightly more at $2.8 billion in 2014) has been spent on costumes, like the Batman character and a witch or animal, as the most popular like in 2014. Top three children’s costumes for 2015 are still a princess, an animal, and spider man. We spent $2.1 billion on Halloween candy, $1.9 billion on haunted house decorations, but only $0.3 billion on ghosts and goblins greeting cards.

Where did you buy Halloween-related items this year? Discount stores (47.7 percent), department stores (19.2 percent), special Halloween costume shop (32.6 percent), clothing stores (19.1 percent), home decorating stores (8.2 percent), home improvement stores (3.8 percent), greeting card and gift stores (7.8 percent), crafts or fabrics stores (12.2 percent),  local small businesses (6.1 percent), online e-commerce (17.3 percent), catalogs (3.3 percent), grocery stores and supermarkets (24.8 percent), pharmacy drug stores (9.7 percent), thrift stores and resale shops (10.1 percent), and other venues (4.6 percent).

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbOAAAAJGQ2NjU1ODVhLTg5YzItNDFlMi1iYjBlLTc3MTQ1Y2IwODIwYQ - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

How did you celebrate Halloween?

Dressing up annually on Halloween night is substantially growing in popularity, as 64 percent in 2015 (compared to a much higher 78 percent in 2014) of Americans plan on dressing up this year, with 20 percent making costumes by themselves.

Americans’ Halloween 2015 spending per item is as follows (so detailed out here for aid to viewing the chart below for mobile device users): 64 percent of us spent on average $43 on Halloween costumes, 94 percent of us spent on average $25 on “trick or treats” candy, 67 percent of us spent on average $31 on scary haunted house decorations, and finally, 34 percent of us spend on average $11 on ghostly greeting cards.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcRAAAAJDVlYmZhM2YyLTI2ZGUtNDgyOS05NzM5LTU0YjE0MDAzMmI5NQ - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

And, 51 percent of young adult consumers carved a “Great Pumpkin” like Charlie Brown.

Nearly 67 percent in 2015 (compared to 47 percent in 2014) of Americans decorated their home or yard. While, a third of us (at 33.4 percent) or 51 million Americans hosted or attended a Halloween costume party to celebrate the Autumn fun.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbUAAAAJDczYzVlMjkzLWY1NGMtNGExMi05NzU1LTE2NzAwOWU3MjEzMw - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

In contrast, 94 percent in 2015 (compared to 71 percent in 2014) of Americans dished out $25 per person on their Halloween stock supply and handed out candy to children ringing door bells of millions of neighborhood homes, shouting “trick or treats!”

Finally, a whooping 33 million Americans got into the Halloween spirit by visiting a Haunted House!

Boo! Hope I didn’t scare you.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAUhAAAAJDcwYmIzMWU3LTdiOTItNDBhNC05ZmE4LWQ3ZTQ2ZjU5MDBkOQ - Americans Spent $6.9 Billion on Halloween 2015

We are all deep inside still kids in the kindergarten enjoying “The Great Pumpkin Patch,” Charlie Brown!

Happy Halloween America!

Video Credit: via YouTube. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (1966 Original Episode), Emmy-Award Winning, Lee Mendelson, executive producer of all the classic PEANUTS specials.

Chart Credits:

Photo Credits: The PEANUTS characters and related intellectual property are owned by Peanuts Worldwide LLC, a joint venture owned 80% by Iconix Brand Group, Inc. and 20% by members of the Charles M. Schulz family.


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Oliver McGee is professor of mechanical engineering at Howard University. He is an aerospace, mechanical, and civil engineer, and author of six books on Amazon. He is former United States deputy assistant secretary of transportation for technology policy (1999-2001) in the Clinton Administration, and former senior policy adviser in the Clinton White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1997-1999).

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