When I was little, Halloween was magical. My sister and I were allowed to eat candy, stay up late and play dress-up for the neighborhood. Nowadays, I’ve become more of a scrooge. I haven’t signed up for the past two years to give out candy in my apartment and probably won’t this year.
But stats show that I’m a black sheep when it comes to Halloween. The majority of Americans — 158 million of them in fact — will be celebrating Halloween this year, spending a total of $6.9 billion on candy, costumes and decorations, according to the National Retail Federation.
One thing I do look forward to every Halloween are the trends. Costumes are expected to account for $1.2 billion dollars out of the $6.9 billion spent, according to the NRF.
This year, sexy inanimate objects are all the rage. Women don’t have to be sexy professionals anymore; they can also be sexy foods like pizza, hamburgers and carrots. As for men, I expect we will be seeing a lot of zombies, thanks to The Walking Dead and I’ll bet the Daft Punk space men will make it into our Instagram feeds this year.
According to Google, the highest searched costumes are zombies, Batman, pirates and witches. I guess there’s nothing wrong with going traditional. We dressed our dogs up last year and to my amazement we were not alone. In fact, Americans will spend $330 million on pet costumes this year, according to the NRF. That’s a lot of ironic hotdog dogs.
When it comes to candy, we don’t screw around. Americans will spend $1.9 billion on it this year, according to The Nielsen Company. That’s around 600 million pounds worth of Hershey bars, lollipops, Milk Duds, Twizzlers and Clark Bars.
That’s great news for the 41 million trick-or-treaters set to take over our neighborhoods, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. In fact, we will buy and, who are we kidding, consume 90 million pounds of chocolate during Halloween. The one thing we don’t want to consume, candy corn; and yet nearly 35 million pounds of it are sold around Halloween, according to the National Confectioners Association. That’s about 9 billion individual kernels of corn. It’s a mystery I have yet to solve.
Nothing is more quintessentially Halloween than haunted houses. They have the best names, like “Terror Behind the Walls” (which, by the way is in an actual prison), “Howl-O-Scream” and “The House of Shock.” In fact, there are 1,200 officially sanctioned haunted houses in the United States generating about $500 million in revenue, according to America Haunts, and that includes those awesome photos of you mid-peeing your pants that your friend puts on Facebook and you can’t take down and then that guy you like sees the photo and leaves a comment like “nice face.”
Finally, let’s talk pumpkins. Charlie Brown introduced us to The Great Pumpkin when we were kids, and carving a jack-o-lantern is like decorating a Christmas tree — it’s something we’ve done since we were little.
Lucky for us, the “baby in a pumpkin trend” started only last year thanks to Pinterest, so most of us grew up carving these gourds not sitting in them. This year, Americans will spend around $106 million on pumpkins, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The jack-o-lantern slowly withering on your front porch probably came from Illinois, which grew 542 million pounds of pumpkin this year. If you’re looking for extra credit, call Tim and Susan Mathisdon in Napa, Calif., and try to carve up their 2,032 pound pumpkin.