Halloween Festivities Largely Unaffected by Terrorism Concerns

by Jeffrey M. Jones

No appreciable drop in percentage participating this year

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll reveals that Americans' Halloween traditions will be little affected by concerns about terrorism this year. According to the Oct. 19-21 survey, more than three in five households will be handing out Halloween treats at their doors, and nearly two-thirds of parents of children under 15 will send their children out trick-or-treating. These percentages are virtually unchanged compared to previous years. This reflects the fact that the vast majority of Americans say they are currently going about their business as usual since Sept. 11. Some concern does manifest itself -- one-third of parents of trick-or-treaters say they will restrict their children's activities due to concern about terrorism. A majority, however, do not plan to restrict their children.

Same Percentage of Adults Handing Out Halloween Treats

Some news reports have suggested that the war on terrorism and the recent incidents involving anthrax would inhibit participation in Halloween activities this year. However, that does not appear to be the case. Roughly two-thirds of Americans say they will be handing out treats to trick-or-treaters, essentially the same proportion as in previous years.

Will You Be Giving Out Halloween Treats
From Your Home?
^ ABC/ Washington Post

Of those who say they will not be giving out Halloween treats this year, only 12% (which represents 4% of all Americans) say this is due to concern about terrorism, while 87% say it is for some other reason. The following table describes Americans' expected participation in Halloween.

 

 

2001 Oct 19-21

   
 

%

Yes, giving out Halloween treats

63

   

No, not giving out Halloween treats

35

Due to concern about terrorism

(4)

Not due to concern about terrorism

(31)

   

No opinion

2



Percentage of Parents Whose Children Will Trick-or-Treat Unchanged

The percentage of children who will go trick-or-treating is also unchanged when compared to previous years. Sixty-six percent of parents of children under the age of 15 say their children will be trick-or-treating. An October 1999 poll showed similar numbers.

Parents: Will Any of Your Children Be
Trick-or-Treating This Halloween?
^ ABC/ Washington Post

Among parents of trick-or-treaters, about one-third, 34%, say they are concerned about their children's safety following the Sept. 11 attacks and will put restrictions on their children's activities, while two-thirds say they will not. The restrictions of that one-third of parents seem to be terrorism's greatest effect on the annual Halloween festivities.

Americans Going About Business as Usual

The poll showed that, more generally, Americans are not making major changes in the way they live their lives. Eighty-nine percent say they are going about their business as usual and very few have taken specific steps, such as purchasing a gas mask or a weapon, to protect themselves from terrorism. In fact, a majority of Americans say they have not even thought about taking steps to protect themselves from being victimized by terrorism. Additionally, the poll shows a decline in the percentage of Americans who fear becoming the victim of terrorism -- the percentage is at its lowest level since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,006 adults, 18 years and older, conducted Oct. 19-21, 2001. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 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.

Will you or someone in your family be giving out Halloween treats from the door of your home on Halloween this year?

 

 

Yes

No

No opinion

       

2001 Oct 19-21

63%

35

2

       

2000 Oct 25-28

65%

34

1

1999 Oct 21-24

69%

30

1

1985 Oct 24 ^

69%

30

1

       

^ ABC/Washington Post



Is this due at least partly to concern about terrorism, or is it for some other reason not related to terrorism?

BASED ON -- 331 -- WHO ARE NOT GIVING OUT HALLOWEEN TREATS; ±6 PCT. PTS.

 

Due to concern
about terrorism

Not due of concern about terrorism

No
opinion

       

2001 Oct 19-21

12%

87

1



Do you have any children under the age of 15?

 

Yes

No

No answer

       

2001 Oct 19-21

37%

63

*

       

2000 Oct 25-28

37%

63

*

1999 Oct 21-24

36%

64

*



Will any of your children be going out trick or treating door-to-door on Halloween?

BASED ON -- 355 -- PARENTS OF CHILDREN UNDER 15; ±6 PCT. PTS.

 

Yes

No

No opinion

       

2001 Oct 19-21

66%

32

2

       

1999 Oct 21-25

67%

31

2

1985 Oct 24 ^

60%

38

3

 

^ ABC/Washington Post



Will you put any restrictions on your children's trick or treating this year out of concern for their safety following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks?

BASED ON -- 240 -- PARENTS OF CHILDREN GOING TRICK OR TREATING; ±7 PCT. PTS.

 

Yes

No

No opinion

       

2001 Oct 19-21

34%

65

1



(COMBINED RESPONSES)

 

 

2001 Oct 19-21

   
 

%

Yes, children going out trick or treating this year

66

Will put restrictions on children

(22)

Will not put restrictions on children

(43)

Not sure about restrictions

(1)

   

No, children not going out trick or treating this year

32

   

No opinion

2



* -- Less than 0.5%

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