NRF: Halloween participation and spending returns to pre-pandemic levels
Participation in Halloween-related activities will resume to pre-pandemic levels, with 69% of consumers planning to celebrate the holiday this year, up from 65% in 2021 and comparable to 68% in 2019, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. With the spike in participation, total Halloween spending is expected to reach a record $10.6 billion, exceeding last year’s record of $10.1 billion.
“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,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO, NRF. “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.”
The top ways consumers plan to celebrate include handing out candy (67%), decorating their home or yard (51%), dressing up in costume (47%), carving a pumpkin (44%) and throwing or attending a Halloween party (28%). Similar to last year, one in five plan to dress their pet up in a costume.
Consumers plan to spend $100 on average for Halloween candy, décor, cards and costumes. This amount is on par with last year’s record of $103 and is the second highest in the survey’s history.
While total spending on costumes, decorations and candy is expected to reach record levels, there was a slight drop in spending on greeting cards. Unsurprisingly, costumes account for the biggest area of Halloween purchases. Spending on kids’ and adult costumes is expected to total $2.9 billion, the highest amount since 2017. Pet spending is expected to exceed last year’s record high, reaching $710 million.
Similar to recent years, Halloween enthusiasts will once again start their shopping early, with nearly half (47%) beginning in September or earlier. Forty percent plan to purchase their items at discount stores, 36% will go to specialty Halloween or costume stores and 31% will shop online.
The leading source of Halloween costume inspiration remains from online searches (36%), while one-quarter say they will look within retail stores and 19% will get ideas from friends and family.
“Social media is playing an increasingly important role in consumer behavior, and Halloween is no different,” said Phil Rist, Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strateg. “Younger consumers, particularly those under the age of 25, will look to platforms like Instagram and TikTok for costume inspiration this year.”
Costumes Ranked: Children
More than 2.2 million children plan to dress as Spiderman, more than 1.9 million as their favorite princess, more than 1.6 million as a witch, and more than 1.3 million will dress as a ghost. Batman and other superheroes are tied for fifth most popular costume, with 1.2 million children each planning to dress in character.
Costumes Ranked: Adults
Of those planning to dress up for Halloween, 70% of adults already know what their costumes will be this year. More than 5.3 million adults plan to dress like a witch, more than 1.7 million as a vampire, more than 1.5 million as a ghost, and more than 1.4 million as a pirate. And tied for fifth place, more than 1.2 million adults are planning a cat costume and another 1.2 million say they will dress up as Batman.
Costumes Ranked: Pets
The most popular costumes for pet lovers include a pumpkin (9%), a hot dog (5%), a bat (4%), a bumblebee (3%) and a witch (3%).
The survey asked 8,283 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted September 1-6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.