As we approach the second pandemic Halloween this fall, Americans seem anxious to celebrate. 

By some accounts COVID-related news is objectively worse than it was a year ago. The summer surge has reached much higher case counts than the 2020 summer surge did, and there’s now been 697,041 total deaths

But there’s reason for hope as well. Mainly, the vaccinations. While most U.S. adults and teens have had access for months, children 5-12 could soon have the option to receive doses as well. This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said doses could even be available before Halloween. 

That alone is reason to party. 

An estimated 65 percent of Americans plan to do just that. That’s how many people said they intend to celebrate Halloween or participate in Halloween activities this year, up from 58 percent in 2020 and comparable with 68 percent in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. Households with children are much more likely to celebrate Halloween (82 percent) than those without (55 percent).

That’s according to new results from the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion — up from $8.05 billion in 2020. It’s also higher than 2019’s $8.8 billion. On average, consumers plan to spend $102.74 on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards — $10 more than they planned to spend last year.

Households with children are estimated to spend more than twice the amount than households without children ($149.69 compared with $73.57) on Halloween items. 

“Americans plan to spend more than ever to make this Halloween a memorable one,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers have implemented a number of measures, such as bringing in Halloween products earlier than normal, to ensure their shelves are stocked with seasonal candy, décor and other items ahead of this important holiday.”

NRF has been conducting its annual Halloween survey with Prosper Insights & Analytics for over a decade. This year, the survey of 8,061 consumers was conducted Sept. 1-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

Halloween 2021 Survey Results

The data revealed a number of insights about the coming Halloween, including:

Top ways consumers are planning to celebrate include:

  1. Handing out candy (66 percent)
  2. Decorating their home or yard (52 percent)
  3. Dressing in costumes (46 percent)
  4. Carving a pumpkin (44 percent) 
  5. Hosting or attending a party (25 percent).

Percentage of people who plan to take children trick-or-treating:

The percentage of people planning to take children trick-or-treating is a down a bit compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic levels, but it is higher than last year.

  • 2021: 25 percent
  • 2020: 23 percent
  • 2019: 29 percent

How much consumers plan to spend on candy:

Consumers also plan to spend significantly more on candy this year, compared to last year. 

  • 2021: $3 billion
  • 2020: $2.48 billion
  • 2019: $2.6 billion 

Percentage of people planning to hand out candy:

The percentage of people planning to hand it out to trick-or-treaters is higher than last year and closes in on 2019. 

By year:

  • 2021: 66 percent
  • 2020: 62 percent
  • 2019: 69 percent

2021, by age:

  • 18-24: 51 percent
  • 25-34: 58 percent
  • 35-44: 59 percent
  • 45-54: 68 percent
  • 55-64: 71 percent
  • 65+: 81 percent

2021, by gender:

  • Men: 65 percent
  • Women: 66 percent

2021, by region:

  • Northeast: 71 percent
  • Midwest: 67 percent
  • South: 64 percent
  • West: 64 percent

For more Halloween 2021 data, including a look at which costumes are expected to be the most popular, visit the NRF Halloween page