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Halloween Spending Projected to Surpass $12B

NRF estimates candy spending will reach $3.6 billion, up from $3.1 billion in 2023.
Danielle Romano
Halloween candy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers are getting into the spirit of Halloween this year, expecting to spend more on tricks and treats.

According to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Halloween spending is expected to reach a record $12.2 billion — exceeding last year's record spending of $10.6 billion. A record number of consumers (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."

[Read more Candy & Snacks coverage from Convenience Store News]

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).

Per person spending is also up as consumers plan to spend a record $108.24 each, up from the previous record of $102.74 in 2021. The greatest increase in spending came from costumes, which are more popular than ever, NRF found.

NRF Halloween spending 2023

Sixty-nine percent of those celebrating Halloween plan to buy costumes, up from 67 percent last year and the highest in the survey's history. Total spending on costumes is expected to reach a record $4.1 billion, up from $3.6 billion in 2022. 

Total spending on decorations, which grew in popularity during the pandemic and continue to resonate with consumers, is expected to reach $3.9 billion. Of those celebrating Halloween, more than three-quarters (77 percent) plan to purchase decorations, which is on par with last year, but up from 72 percent in 2019.

Other findings from the annual survey include:

  • 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.
  • The leading sources of inspiration continue to be online searches (37 percent), within a retail store or costume shop (28 percent), and friends and family (20 percent).
  • Discount stores (40 percent) remain the leading destination to buy Halloween items, followed 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. 
  • Spending on adult costumes is expected to increase 18 percent over last year to $2 billion and spending on children's costumes is expected to increase by 20 percent over 2022 to $1.4 billion. In line with last year, spending on pet costumes is projected to reach $700 million.

"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," said Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist. "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, conducted Sept. 1-6, asked 8,084 consumers about their shopping plans.

Prosper Insights & Analytics is a global leader in consumer intent data serving the financial services, marketing technology and retail industries.

[Read more: NRF's New Initiative Focuses on Technology Innovation & Risk]

Washington, D.C.-based NRF advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail succeed. Retail is the nation's largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs, or 52 million working Americans.

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