By: O. Lotufo
Picture from: https://www.longislandpress.com/2021/10/27/the-best-spooky-and-sweet-halloween-candy-for-2021/
Living in Brazil, Halloween is a holiday which almost goes unnoticed, with the greatest festivity being occasionally dressing up on the 31st with whatever you find in your closet, or having a handful of enthusiastic children unexpectedly knock on your door. However, in the United States, it is regarded as a major national holiday, right up there with Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. And the money that goes into Halloween reflects this: consumers spend billions of dollars on the holiday, with such money going into decorations, costumes, and lots and lots of candy.
This year, 69% of Americans have stated they will partake in Halloween festivities, a 4% increase from 2021. Spendings on the holiday have, too, increased – 2021 reached a record-high USD 10.14 billion spent, and this year has been projected to surpass this and reach USD 10.6 billion. Within such expenditure, decorations alone account for USD 3.6 billion, with 52% of Americans planning on decorating their homes for Halloween.
Regarding costumes, consumers are expected to spend USD 3.3 billion to dress up as famous characters, celebrities, horror figures, and any other outfit they can think of. When looking at the costumes bought, the idea that Halloween is a children’s holiday is quickly discarded. Of the expenditure on costumes, USD 1.2 billion does account for children, with the most popular options being cliché superheroes and princesses. Still, USD 1.7 billion is spent on adults, with top costumes being witches, ghosts, vampires, and pirates. Yet, most surprising of all, the remaining USD 0.7 billion goes into pets; this year, the favourites are pumpkins, hotdogs, bats, and bumblebees.
Finally, the last sector for Halloween expenditure – and what most children enthusiastically wait for – is candy. Trick-or-treating causes Americans to spend USD 3.1 billion on sweets and chocolate, with the average person spending approximately USD 30. This is especially shocking when we consider how much USD 30 can buy: “a jumbo bag of pumpkin-shaped Reese's peanut butter cups, a theatre box of Skittles, six full-size Snickers bars, 3 pounds of candy corn, 12 ounces of assorted Laffy Taffy and a pack of Hershey's kisses” (yahoo! finance).
However, this year, candy prices have skyrocketed, mostly due to inflation and increased production costs, including the increasing costs of cocoa and sugar (caused by the war in Ukraine). Hershey normally makes 10 per cent of its annual profit during Halloween; nonetheless, in August, they warned consumers they wouldn’t be able to meet demands due to a scarcity of ingredients and issues in the supply chain. Likewise, candy brands have also significantly increased their prices: Hershey’s price rose by 14%, Nestle’s by 9.8%, and Mars Chocolate’s by 7%. On average, a bag of trick-or-treat sweets now costs 13.1% more than it did last year.
However, such increases in cost aren’t likely to stop the USA from celebrating its treasured holiday. Halloween will continue to drive Americans into spending billions on costumes and candy bars, and thus generate huge profits for the industries associated with these.