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Record Halloween Spending Expected: NRF

Attending parties, trick-or-treating also on post-pandemic uptick.

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Record Halloween Spending Expected: NRF
Specialty shops, such as Spirit Halloween, are popular during that holiday’s season. PHOTOGRAPHY: Courtesy of Spirit Halloween

Total Halloween spending is expected to reach a record $12.2 billion, exceeding last year’s record of $10.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. A record number of people (73 percent) will participate in Halloween-related activities this year, up from 69 percent in 2022.

“More Americans than ever will be reaching into their wallets and spending a record amount of money to celebrate Halloween this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers will be shopping early for festive décor and other related items and retailers are prepared with the inventory to help customers and their families take part in this popular and fun tradition.”

Discount stores (40 percent) remain the leading destination to buy Halloween items, followed closely by specialty Halloween/costume stores (39 percent) and online (32 percent). While specialty Halloween and costume shops have always been a top destination for Halloween items, more consumers plan to shop at these stores this year than in the past.

Like previous years, the top ways consumers are planning to celebrate are handing out candy (68 percent), decorating their home or yard (53 percent), or dressing in costume (50 percent). However, in a return to pre-pandemic norms, more consumers also plan to throw or attend a party (32 percent) or take their children trick-or-treating (28 percent).

Candy spending is expected to reach $3.6 billion, up from $3.1 billion last year. Spending on Halloween greeting cards is projected to be $500 million, down slightly from $600 million in 2022 but above pre-pandemic levels.

Similar to other major holidays and spending events like back-to-school and the winter holidays, consumers are looking to get an early start on their Halloween shopping. Nearly half (45 percent) of those celebrating the holiday plan to start shopping before October. This is on par with last year, but up from 33 percent a decade ago.

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“Younger consumers are eager to begin their Halloween shopping, with more than half of those ages 25-44 planning to shop before or during September,” Prosper Executive VP of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Social media continues to grow as a source of costume inspiration for younger consumers, as more people under 25 are turning to TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram for ideas.”

The 2023 Halloween survey asked 8,084 consumers about their shopping plans. It was conducted Sept. 1-6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

Click here for more from the NRF survey.

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