18 Frightening Financial Facts You Didn’t Know About Halloween
From Len Penzo
I love Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays — and based upon its mass appeal, apparently I’m not alone.
In fact, even though the wicked economy continues to put a scare into most of us, it hasn’t dampened our spirits when it comes to celebrating what was originally known as All Hallows’ Eve.
So just how hot is Halloween? Well, it’s so popular that it’s downright spooky.
To prove it, here are a few bone-chilling financial facts from the National Retail Federation — along with some other horrendous Halloween trivia I dug up — that I bet you’ve all been dying to know:
1. The Halloween business is absolutely monstrous. Americans will spend $6.9 billion in 2011 on everything from candy and costumes to decorations. That’s an increase of 16 percent from what consumers said they would spend last season.
2. Here’s another shocking survey finding: The average consumer intends to spend $72.31 on Halloween products this year. That’s $6.03 more than last year.
3. According to the US Census Bureau, there were 41 million trick-or-treaters last year between the ages of 5 and 14. It’s unknown how many cranky old people sat on their front porches screaming, “Get the heck off my lawn!”
4. This year, 7 in 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween; that’s the highest level of participation in the survey’s nine-year history. I assume the other three prefer gardening. Or giving trespassing kids the evil eye.
5. Then again, who says Halloween is just for the kids? Believe it or not, in 2011 adults are collectively expected to spend $210 million more on Halloween costumes for themselves than their own little hobgoblins.
6. Don’t forget Fido: Americans also plan on spending $310 million to dress up their pets this year.
7. With over $2.5 billion being spent on Halloween costumes alone, it’s no wonder there were 1,719 costume rental establishments across America as of 2009.
8. If you plan on attending a neighborhood Halloween party this year, you can reduce the chance of bumping into your sartorial doppelganger by avoiding one of the five most popular adult costumes in 2011: a witch, a pirate, a vampire, a zombie, and Batman.
9. I’d be lying if I told you I’m glad the “vampy vixen” costume failed to crack the top five this year; it’s currently ranked seventh. Maybe next year.
10. Census data shows that 92 percent of American households consider their neighborhoods safe. Yes, that includes the folks living in places like Tombstone, Arizona and Cape Fear, North Carolina.
11. Even so, that won’t stop parents like me from checking the kids’ Halloween candy for signs of tampering.
12. If it will make you feel any better, there has been only one documented case since 1974 of a child being killed by a lethal Halloween treat — and in that lone instance, the Grim Reaper turned out to be the father.
13. Speaking of Halloween candy, the typical household is expected to spend $21.05 on Halloween candy this year.
14. By the way, if you hate crowds, make sure you avoid the stores on October 28; that day just so happens to be the biggest day of the year for candy sales.
15. In all, Americans will spend over $2 billion this year on candy to keep their neighborhood trick-or-treaters happy. Hopefully, they’ll avoid the Halloween treats kids hate more than anything.
16. Perhaps that large confection market is why, in 2009, the US had 1177 establishments producing chocolate and cocoa products, employing over 34,000 people. Somewhat ironically, a lot of kids will tell you that many of the most popular Halloween treats don’t involve chocolate at all.
17. Still, if you insist on giving out chocolate this Halloween, you’ll probably want to know that the four most popular candy varieties are: Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat, and M&Ms.
18. Here’s an eerie trick for scaring up your favorite treats: Kit Kat lovers might be interested to know that they have a 37 percent better chance of scoring that crispy confection at a ranch-style home. And any self-respecting Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup fan should realize they have a 26 percent greater chance of getting those tasty treats at two-story houses. Then again, I usually avoid the hassle entirely by just buying — and squirreling away — an extra bag for myself. Just don’t tell my kids.