Economy

Most Americans Spending Money on Halloween

by Lydia Saad

Families with children under 18 spend less than $100, on average

PRINCETON , NJ -- A new Gallup Panel survey finds Americans estimating that their households will spend an average of $52 this year on Halloween merchandise, spread about equally among costumes, decorations, and candy. That figure jumps to $82 for households with children under 18 -- with a bit more emphasis on costumes. The vast majority of Americans, whether or not they have children, are buying Halloween candy this year. However, families with children are more likely than those without children to be making costume and decoration purchases.

All in all, 84% of Americans will spend money in at least one of the three areas connected to the Oct. 31 holiday, while only 16% say they are not going to spend anything.

These results are from a Gallup Panel survey conducted Oct. 25-28, 2007, as Halloween festivities were getting into full swing around the country.

The survey finds 80% of Americans saying they will spend money this year to buy Halloween candy, 41% spending money on decorations, and 36% spending money on costumes.

Spending breaks down as follows for the three major categories of Halloween merchandise:

Roughly, how much money do you think you and your family will spend on -- [READ AND ROTATE A-C] -- this year?

 

Candy

Decor-
ations

Costumes

 

%

%

%

More than $50

5

6

7

$21-$50

18

14

16

$11-$20

25

9

7

$1-$10

32

12

6

$0 

20

59

64

 

100%

100%

100%

Americans predict they will spend an average of $17 on costumes, $18 on candy, and $17 on decorations, for a grand total of $52. However, these figures include the large numbers spending no money in the costume and decoration categories.

When looking just at those making purchases in each area, the average spending estimates are $46 for costumes, $22 for candy, and $41 for decorations.

A Child-Centered Holiday

Whether one has children at home is a clear demarcation point between those who fully embrace the holiday and those who simply buy a bit of candy (whether for themselves or to put out for trick-or-treaters).

A majority of Americans with children under 18 in their households say they are buying candy (84%), spending money on costumes (65%), and buying decorations (54%).

Nearly as many Americans without children under 18 at home as Americans with children under 18 say they are buying candy (78% vs. 84%). (An October 2006 Gallup Poll found nearly as many adults without children under 18 at home as adults with children -- 63% vs. 67% -- saying they “usually” give out treats on Halloween night.) But only 27% of adult-only homes report they will spend money on costumes and only 37% say they will buy decorations.

Accordingly, families with children under 18 at home estimate they will spend an average of $82 across all three lines of Halloween merchandise, while families with no children under 18 at home estimate spending $42, on average.

Spending Estimates on Halloween Merchandise

Oct. 25-28, 2007

 

Have children
under 18

No children
under 18

 

 

 

Candy

$22

$16

Costumes

$33

$12

Decorations

$27

$14

 

 

 

Total

$82

$42

 

Given that most adults with children under 18 are under 50 years of age, there is a strong correlation between Halloween spending and age -- particularly with respect to costumes. However, beyond these factors, Gallup finds few distinctions in the types of people “buying in” to the holiday.

Higher-income Americans (those earning $75,000 or more annually) are somewhat more likely than those earning less than $35,000 annually to say they buy candy and costumes, but there is little difference between the two groups in terms of buying decorations.

The 2006 Gallup Halloween poll found 12% of Christians (versus only 3% of non-Christians) citing personal objections to the holiday on religious grounds. But despite this, Christians were no less likely than non-Christians to say they usually pass out candy (65% vs. 62%) or to say they usually decorate their homes for Halloween (44% each). Similarly, this year’s survey finds virtually no difference between the percentages of Christians and non-Christians saying they are buying Halloween candy or decorations.

Bottom Line

Halloween reportedly lags behind five other holidays in terms of total consumer spending, with Christmas overshadowing all of them by massive proportions. Still, these relatively small Halloween outlays add up to what the National Retail Federation describes as a “nice boost” for retailers, expected to top $5 billion in total sales this year.

Of the several types of merchandise marketed to the public, candy has by far the broadest appeal to Americans. Fewer people invest in costumes or decorations, but because those making the purchases spend larger sums on these items than on candy, these products add up to as big a part of the Halloween retail season as the treats.

Survey Methods

Results for this panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 25-28, 2007. Respondents were randomly drawn from Gallup’s nationally representative household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. The final sample is weighted so it is representative of U.S. adults nationwide.

 For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.



28. Roughly, how much money do you think you and your family will spend on -- [RANDOM ORDER] -- this year?

A. Halloween costumes

 

2007 Oct 25-28

 

%

None/do not celebrate

64

$1-$10

6

$11-$20

7

$21-50

16

$51-$100

5

More than $100

2

 

 

No opinion

--

 

 

Mean (including zero)

$17

Median (including zero)

$0

Mean (excluding zero)

$46

Median (excluding zero)

$30

B. Halloween candy

 

2007 Oct 25-28

 

%

None/do not celebrate

20

$1-$10

32

$11-$20

25

$21-50

18

$51-$100

4

More than $100

1

 

 

No opinion

*

 

 

Mean (including zero)

$18

Median (including zero)

$10

Mean (excluding zero)

$22

Median (excluding zero)

$15

* Less than 0.5%

C. Halloween decorations

 

2007 Oct 25-28

 

%

None/do not celebrate

59

$1-$10

12

$11-$20

9

$21-50

14

$51-$100

4

More than $100

2

 

 

No opinion

*

 

 

Mean (including zero)

$17

Median (including zero)

$0

Mean (excluding zero)

$41

Median (excluding zero)

$20

* Less than 0.5%

 

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/102445/Most-Americans-Spending-Money-Halloween.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
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