Local Festivals: 157M to Celebrate Halloween

by | 6 minute read

Ready to embrace cool­er weath­er, fall tra­di­tions and spir­it­ed cel­e­bra­tions, more than 157 mil­lion Amer­i­cans Will Cel­e­brate Hal­loween this year, accord­ing to the Nation­al Retail Federation‰Ûªs Hal­loween Con­sumer Spend­ing Sur­vey. The aver­age per­son cel­e­brat­ing will spend $74.34, com­pared with $77.52 in 2014. Total spend­ing on Hal­loween is expect­ed to reach $6.9 bil­lion.

‰ÛÏAfter a long sum­mer, con­sumers are eager to embrace fall and all of the cel­e­bra­tions that come with it,‰Û NRF pres­i­dent and CEO Matthew Shay said. ‰ÛÏWith a bit more con­fi­dence in their finances and still enjoy­ing the perks of low gas prices, we expect those cel­e­brat­ing Hal­loween this year will look for sev­er­al dif­fer­ent activ­i­ties to do with their fam­i­ly and friends. Retail­ers of all shapes and sizes will wel­come mil­lions of shop­pers with pro­mo­tions on can­dy and dec­o­ra­tions and of course, costumes.‰Û

Con­sumers cel­e­brat­ing Hal­loween plan to spend an aver­age of $27.33 on cos­tumes for the whole fam­i­ly, and a total of $2.5 bil­lion on store-bought, home­made, large and small cos­tumes. Those cel­e­brat­ing will spend the most on adult cos­tumes ($1.2 bil­lion), and will spend a total of $950 mil­lion on children‰Ûªs cos­tumes and $350 mil­lion on fash­ion­able and fun cos­tumes for their fur­ry friends. It‰Ûªs esti­mat­ed that 68 mil­lion Amer­i­cans will dress up this Hal­loween and anoth­er 20 mil­lion pet own­ers will dress up their pet.

Nine in 10 (93.7%) Hal­loween shop­pers will buy can­dy, spend­ing a total of $2.1 bil­lion, and an addi­tion­al 33.5% will buy greet­ing cards, spend­ing a total of $330 mil­lion. Two in five cel­e­brants (44.8%) plan to dec­o­rate their home or yard, mean­ing there‰Ûªs no ques­tion con­sumers will see their fair share of pump­kins, hay bales and even life-size Min­ions and black cats strewn across their neigh­bor­hoods. The aver­age per­son plan­ning to buy dec­o­ra­tions will spend $20.34 with total spend­ing expect­ed to reach $1.9 bil­lion.

When it comes to how con­sumers plan to cel­e­brate, most will hand out can­dy (67.8%), or dress in cos­tume (43.5%), though there will be no short­age of jack-o-lanterns light­ing up win­dows this year with 41% of peo­ple plan­ning to carve pump­kins. Near­ly one-third of con­sumers (31.5%) plan to throw or attend a par­ty with friends and fam­i­ly.

More con­sumers have decid­ed to head to stores or shop online ear­ly to pick out cos­tumes and dec­o­ra­tions. More than one-third of con­sumers (34.1%) will start their Hal­loween shop­ping before the first of Octo­ber, up slight­ly from 32.1% last year, while 40.9% will get start­ed in the first half of the month and one-quar­ter of cel­e­brants will wait for the final weeks of Octo­ber.

‰ÛÏPeo­ple shouldn‰Ûªt be too sur­prised when they see Hal­loween can­dy and dec­o­ra­tions avail­able in stores as ear­ly as Sep­tem­ber first,‰Û Pros­per Insights Prin­ci­pal Ana­lyst Pam Good­fel­low said. ‰ÛÏGiv­en that more than a third of Amer­i­cans enjoy tak­ing advan­tage of ear­ly-bird deals to kick off their fall cel­e­bra­tions, it seems there‰Ûªs plen­ty of appetite among con­sumers to enjoy a per­fect­ly ‰Û÷frightful‰Ûª Halloween.‰Û

Sim­i­lar to past years, the major­i­ty of con­sumers will find inspi­ra­tion for their cos­tumes online (31.4%) or will head to cos­tume shops and retail stores (26.8%) before they make a final deci­sion. Pin­ter­est con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­lar­i­ty among those look­ing for cos­tume inspi­ra­tion (13.3%), as this year‰Ûªs per­cent­age is near­ly dou­ble the amount who used the site for inspi­ra­tion just three years ago (7.1%).

Mil­len­ni­als remain the dri­vers of Pin­ter­est traf­fic around Hal­loween though with 24.9% of 18–24 year-olds and 23.7% of 25–34 year-olds using the site for cos­tume inspi­ra­tion.

Lit­tle yel­low Min­ions, pint-size Yodas and pret­ty pink princess­es are plan­ning a takeover this Hal­loween as consumers‰Ûª cos­tume deci­sions shed light on an epic year for pop-cul­ture fanat­ics. Accord­ing to NRF‰Ûªs 2015 Hal­loween Con­sumer Top Cos­tumes Sur­vey con­duct­ed by Pros­per Insights & Ana­lyt­ics, Min­ions, ‰ÛÏS­tar Wars‰Û Char­ac­ters each made an appear­ance on all three top cos­tume lists ‰ÛÒ adults, children's and pets.

‰ÛÏAs we‰Ûªve seen for sev­er­al years, Hol­ly­wood and pop cul­ture both have a tremen­dous impact on how adults and their chil­dren decide to dress the part each Hal­loween, and it‰Ûªs evi­dent some of the biggest news-mak­ers of the year will be out in full force this fall,‰Û said NRF Pres­i­dent and CEO Matthew Shay.

Main­tain­ing their 11 year reign, princess cos­tumes will once again top the children‰Ûªs cos­tume list with an esti­mat­ed 3.2 mil­lion tiny tots look­ing to dress the part. Anoth­er 2 mil­lion will be their favorite Dis­ney ‰ÛÏFrozen‰Û char­ac­ter. Addi­tion­al­ly, more than 1.8 mil­lion chil­dren will don a ‰ÛÏS­tar Wars‰Û cos­tume and 1 mil­lion will select a lit­tle yel­low Min­ion cos­tume as they take to the streets this Hal­loween.

For the 11th year in a row, a witch came in as the top adult cos­tume with more than 4.3 mil­lion adults going with old reli­able. ‰ÛÏS­tar Wars‰Û char­ac­ters ranked 5th for adults this year after tying for 12th last year: 1.4 mil­lion adults will chan­nel Han Solo, Princess Leia, Yoda or anoth­er beloved ‰ÛÏS­tar Wars‰Û char­ac­ter this Hal­loween. Ani­mal char­ac­ters (2.4 mil­lion), ‰ÛÏBatman‰Û char­ac­ters (2 mil­lion) and zom­bie (1.9 mil­lion) round out the top five adult cos­tumes. Addi­tion­al­ly, 774 mil­lion adults to choose a polit­i­cal char­ac­ter as their pre­ferred cos­tume this year.

About one in 10 Hal­loween cel­e­brants (12.9%) plan to dress their fur­ry friends in cos­tumes this year, and of the 80% of those sur­veyed who have already select­ed the cos­tume, most (10.6%) will choose a lit­tle round pump­kin for Kit­ty and Rover. Addi­tion­al­ly, sev­er­al pet own­ers will opt to put their four-legged friend in a ‰ÛÏS­tar Wars‰Û (8th on the list) or Min­ion cos­tume (11th).

‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs eas­i­er than ever for con­sumers to find cre­ative Hal­loween cos­tumes giv­en the pop­u­lar­i­ty of Pin­ter­est and Insta­gram and the imme­di­ate access to pop cul­ture trends,‰Û said Pros­per Insights Prin­ci­pal Ana­lyst Pam Good­fel­low. ‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs always a nice sur­prise to see what tops the lists each year and to see just how cre­ative peo­ple will get when it comes to what their own and even their pets' costumes.‰Û

With all the Hal­loween parades and fall fes­ti­vals hap­pen­ing, be sure to con­sid­er this audi­ence: Local Com­mu­ni­ty Fes­ti­val Atten­dees. Audi­enceS­CAN report­ed 17% of con­sumers plan to attend fes­ti­vals in the next 12 months, and you can bet many of them will be shop­ping for Hal­loween goods and good­ies in order to do so. Dur­ing the past 30 days, they have used the Inter­net to:åÊVisit a local, state or fed­er­al gov­ern­ment web­site (35.5%); and vis­it the web­site of a local news­pa­per (34%). Local Com­mu­ni­ty Fes­ti­val Atten­dees like­ly are look­ing for event times and dates on these sites, so be sure your adver­tis­ers are in these spots!

Audi­enceS­CAN data is avail­able as part of a sub­scrip­tion to AdMall for Agen­cies. Media com­pa­nies can access Audi­enceS­CAN data through the Audi­ence Intel­li­gence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Court­ney is the Edi­tor for Sales­Fu­el Today. She ana­lyzes sec­ondary cus­tomer research and our pri­ma­ry Audi­enceS­CAN research. Court­ney is a grad­u­ate of Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Uni­ver­si­ty.