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Halloween Lives On: Americans Hit the Stores this Spooky Season

Shopkick survey finds big box will win shoppers’ dollars; majority of parents will allow their children to trick-or-treat this year

Whether it be decorating the house, carving pumpkins, watching seasonal favorites, or handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, plans for this year’s Halloween festivities appear spookily similar to years’ past, despite the pandemic. Turns out, most consumers (84 percent) will shop in-store to purchase costumes, candy and decor. Even more surprisingly, 55 percent of parents said they will allow their children to go trick-or-treating this year. 

Shopkick surveyed more than 13,000 people to see how they plan to participate in this Hallows’ Eve.

Halloween Headlines:

  • Tricky Treating:
  • Although CDC advises against it this year, 55 percent of parents say they will allow their children to go trick-or-treating. Of all parents, millennials are most likely to allow trick-or-treating (65 percent), compared to Gen Z parents (51 percent) and Gen X parents (51 percent). Additionally, parents from states with some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates, like Florida (50 percent), Texas (49 percent) and California (33 percent), are less likely than parents from states with some of the lowest rates, like Colorado (67 percent) and New Jersey (59 percent), to allow their children to go trick-or-treating this year.
  • In-Store Wins Halloween: This year consumers plan to shop in-store for their Halloween goodies. More consumers will head to big box stores for purchasing candy (49 percent), costumes (48 percent) and decorations (43 percent). 
  • Costume Craze: Of the 46 percent that plan on purchasing costumes either for themselves or their children this year, 73 percent will buy them in-store at big-box retailers (48 percent), a Spirit Halloween store (32 percent), or a party store (9 percent). The majority of shoppers purchasing their costumes online will do so on Amazon (57 percent). Nearly twenty percent of parents will not buy new costumes for their kids, instead opting to re-wear something they already have.
  • Spooky Spending: Despite the pandemic, the majority of those surveyed (56 percent) will spend the same amount of money celebrating Halloween as they have in the past. When it comes to candy, 47 percent plan to spend up to $20 and 40 percent plan to spend between $21 and $40. Just 10 percent plan to spend between $41 and $60. For costume-wearers, 44 percent will spend between $21 and $40 on their look, followed by 23 percent who plan to spend between $41 and 60, 18 percent who plan to spend $20 or less, and 15 percent who will spend over $61.
  • Candy Cravings: When asked what kind of candy consumers will purchase, most say anything with chocolate (88 percent). The second most popular candy is chewy/fruity (42 percent), followed by caramel (40 percent), lollipops (37 percent), sour gummies (36 percent), candy corn (28 percent), taffy (25 percent) nut-filled (20 percent) and gum/mints (12 percent). Most shoppers will purchase fun-size variety bags (83 percent) rather than full-size candy bars (23 percent).   
  • Chocolate over Carrots: Although sweets and treats are viewed most favorable on Halloween (71 percent), 29 percent of consumers say they will opt for healthy alternatives like carrot snack bags, toothbrushes, or trail mix. 
  • The Sooner the Sweeter: The vast majority (93 percent) of consumers purchasing candy will do so in-store, most popularly at big-box stores (49 percent) or grocery stores (29 percent). Of those, 55 percent plan to make their candy purchases in early October, followed by 26 percent the week before Halloween and 3 percent the day of. 
  • Pumpkin is King: When it comes to spooky decor, the majority of shoppers (85 percent) say pumpkins are the most essential, followed by Halloween lights (60 percent), Jack-o’-lanterns (57 percent), spiders and spider webs (52 percent), skeletons (45 percent), tombstones (27 percent), animatronics (12 percent), and, lastly, fog machines (10 percent).
  • Halloween at Home: When asked how they plan to celebrate Halloween at home this year, the majority of consumers plan to participate in all the usual ways. The most popular activities include decorating the house (39 percent), carving pumpkins (31 percent), having a Halloween movie marathon (27 percent), and staying home and giving out candy to trick-or-treaters (26 percent). 


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Shopkick conducted a survey of 13,852 consumers across the country to gain insights into their Halloween plans. The survey was conducted online from September 9 – 14, 2020.