You’ll Never Believe How Much Americans Actually Spend on Halloween

Decorating home for Halloween stock photo
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Between candy, costumes, greeting cards, decorations and pumpkins, it’s actually pretty scary how much Americans spend on Halloween — around $100 per person, according to Investopedia.

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It’s one of the biggest retail holidays of the year, according to the National Retail Federation. There was a record spending of $10.4 billion in 2021 when people were eager to celebrate the spooky season again after a pause in 2020 as the pandemic loomed and created restrictions for gathering.

And 2022 looks to set another record with an estimated $10.6 billion on the line, as 69% of Americans have said they plan to celebrate, per an annual survey conducted by the NRF through a partnership with Prospect Insights & Analytics.

According to the organization’s study, this will break down into $3.6 billion on costumes, $3.1 billion on candy, $3.4 billion on decorations and $0.6 billion on greeting cards.

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Trends for how Americans will celebrate Halloween are also on par with the same breakdown that has been tracking the past three years — for 2022, 67% of people said they will hand out candy, 51% are planning to decorate, 47% are looking to dress up, 44% will carve a pumpkin and 28% said they will attend or throw a themed party.

Accounting for the biggest share of the Halloween spending pie are the costumes. Whether elaborate or simple, this is where Americans spend most of their dollars this time of year with a surprising breakdown of how the funds are allocated. Per Investopedia, $1.7 billion of the total money spent will be for adult costumes, $1.2 billion will be for kids’ costumes and yes, there will even be $0.7 billion spent on pet costumes.

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For kids, the top costume ideas include princesses, superheroes and witches with prices averaging about $25-40 for each costume, not including makeup and props. For adults, the top five characters include witches, ghosts, vampires, cats and pirates — with the extra fabrication, those costumes are more pricey, around $30-60. Dog costumes are usually the most affordable, and top picks for 2022 include hot dogs, witches, bats, bumblebees and pumpkins.

When it comes to candy, as GOBankingRates previously reported, Americans spend – on average – about $30 per person each year on the sweet stuff. And when it comes to decorations, Americans also go all out with about $32 per person allocated for light-up gizmos and jump-scare props.

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Another big category for spending this year are, of course, pumpkins. According to Finder.com, in total, people in the U.S. will spend about $804 million this year on gourds to carve. This is up from $709 million in 2021, mostly because the cost of pumpkins have gone up to $5.40 on average in 2022 (compared to $4.83 last October).

While these figures might be frightening, Halloween is not even one of the top five holidays that Americans indulge in every year.

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Of course, Christmas is king with the winter season (also including Thanksgiving) racking up an astonishing $843-859 billion on average, according to Snopes, citing data from the NRF’s annual surveys. Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day round out the top three with $31.7 billion and $23.9 billion spent, respectively. Behind those three are Easter with $20.8 billion and Father’s Day with $20 billion and then comes Halloween, ranking in the sixth spot for annual holiday spending.

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About the Author

Selena Fragassi joined GOBankingRates.com in 2022, adding to her 15 years in journalism with bylines in Spin, Paste, Nylon, Popmatters, The A.V. Club, Loudwire, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and others. She currently resides in Chicago with her rescue pets and is working on a debut historical fiction novel about WWII. She holds a degree in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago.
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