America seems to be in the mood for candy corn and costumes, with the National Retail Federation predicting a record $12.2 billion in spending. That’s up from last year’s $10.6 billion, also a record. The survey finds that 73% of consumers are expected to participate in the holiday somehow, up from 69% in 2022.
The Washington, D.C.-based trade association says per-person spending will climb to $108.24.
Handing out candy continues to be the most common way to celebrate, with 68% of those in the survey saying they plan to do so. Decorating home or yard comes next, at 53%, with 50% planning to wear some kind of costume. The NRF says that’s likely to translate into $4.1 billion in sales.
After several years of languishing, in-person parties are making a comeback, with 32% saying they will either organize or attend a party, and 28% announcing plans to take kids trick-or-treating.
NRF, which conducts its research with Prosper Insights & Analytics, says the sample of more than 8,000 adults points to the continuation of the trend toward earlier shopping, especially among younger people.
As we head into the season of the witch, more than half of the millennials (25 to 44) in the survey say they intend to get Halloween shopping done this month. Those under 25 are already scrolling through social media for ideas and inspiration.
Most will opt for the obvious. The NRF says the top three choices for kids are Spiderman, a princess, or another superhero. Spending on children’s costumes is expected to rise 20% to $1.4 billion. Adults, predicted to spend $2 billion, up 18%, are apt to choose to be a witch, a vampire or Barbie. For pets, pumpkins, hot dogs and bats will be the most popular, with consumers spending about $700 million, flat from last year.
Discount stores are still the No. 1 destination for Halloween shopping, mentioned by 40%, followed by specialty Halloween/costume stores, 39%, and online, 32%.