I love Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays — and based upon its mass appeal, apparently I’m not alone.
In fact, even though the wicked economy continues to put a scare into most people, when it comes to celebrating what was originally known as All Hallows’ Eve, spirits remain high.
So just how hot is Halloween? Well, it’s so popular that it’s downright spooky.
To prove it, here are a few bone-chilling financial facts from the National Retail Federation — along with some other horrendous Halloween trivia I dug up — that I bet you’ve all been dying to know:
The Halloween business is absolutely monstrous. Americans will spend $6.9 billion in 2013 on everything from candy and costumes to decorations. That’s $1.1 billion less than what consumers said they would spend last season.
Here’s another shocking survey finding: The average consumer intends to spend $75.03 on Halloween products in 2013. That’s $4.79 less than last year.
According to the latest available US Census Bureau figures, there were 41 million trick-or-treaters in 2010 between the ages of 5 and 14. It’s unknown how many cranky old people sat on their front porches screaming, “Get the heck off my lawn!”
This year, 7 in 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween; that’s the highest level of participation in the survey’s nine-year history. I assume the other three prefer gardening. Or giving trespassing kids the evil eye.
Then again, who says Halloween is just for the kids? Believe it or not, this year adults are collectively expected to spend $180 million more on Halloween costumes for themselves than their own little hobgoblins.
Don’t forget Fido: Americans also plan on spending $330 million to dress up their pets in 2013.
With over $2.5 billion being spent on Halloween costumes alone, it’s no wonder that, as of 2009, there were 1,719 costume rental establishments across America.
If you plan on attending a neighborhood Halloween party this year, you can reduce the chance of bumping into your sartorial doppelganger by avoiding one of the five most popular adult costumes in 2013: a witch, Batman, a vampire, a zombie, and a pirate.
Census data shows that 92% of American households consider their neighborhoods safe. Yes, that includes the folks living in places like Tombstone, Arizona and Cape Fear, North Carolina.
Even so, that won’t stop parents like me from checking the kids’ Halloween candy for signs of tampering.
If it will make you feel any better, there has been only one documented case since 1974 of a child being killed by a lethal Halloween treat — and in that lone instance, the Grim Reaper turned out to be the father.
Speaking of Halloween treats, this year one in three households plan to scale back and buy less candy than they did in 2012.
By the way, if you hate crowds, make sure you avoid the stores on October 28; that happens to be the biggest day of the year for candy sales.
In all, Americans will spend nearly $2.1 billion in 2013 on candy to keep the neighborhood goblins happy. Hopefully, they’ll avoid the 13 Halloween treats kids hate more than anything. One of the most despised: mints.
Perhaps that large confection market is why, in 2009, the US had 1177 establishments producing chocolate and cocoa products, employing over 34,000 people. Somewhat ironically, a lot of kids will tell you that many of the most popular Halloween treats don’t involve chocolate at all.
Still, if you insist on giving out chocolate this Halloween, you’ll probably want to know that the four most popular candy varieties are: Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat, and M&Ms.
Here’s an eerie trick for scaring up your favorite treats: Kit Kat lovers might be interested to know that they have a 37 percent better chance of scoring that crispy confection at a ranch-style home. And any self-respecting Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup fan should realize they have a 26 percent greater chance of getting those tasty treats at two-story houses. Then again, I usually avoid the hassle entirely by just buying — and squirreling away — an extra bag for myself. Just don’t tell my kids.