American consumers aren’t scared to pull out all the stops — or their wallets — when it comes to celebrating Halloween.
The National Retail Federation, in partnership with Prosper Insights & Analytics, polled 6,961 consumers about Halloween shopping habits in September, and results indicate shoppers will spend $9 billion in the 2018 season, just shy of last year’s record $9.1 billion.
Nearly all consumers polled (95 percent) will buy candy and 70 percent will hand it out, representing an estimated $2.6 billion in sales. 
Shoppers are also expected to spend $3.2 billion on costumes, with half of them donning costumes themselves. Nearly 20 percent of consumers will dress up their pets — a growing trend among consumers, says Phil Rist, Prosper Insights executive v.p. of strategy.
“Out of the 31.3 million Americans planning to dress their pets in costumes, Millennials (25-34) are most likely to dress up their pets, the highest we have seen in the history of our surveys,” he said. 
Consumers are also expected to spend $2.7 billion on decorations and $400 million on greeting cards.
“The economy is good and consumer confidence is high, so families are ready to spend on Halloween this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are stocking up to supply children, pets and adults with their favorite decorations, candy and costumes for the season.”
The NRF expects 175 million Americans will take part in Halloween activities this year, translating to an average of $86.79 spent per consumer. That’s slightly up from last year’s average of $86.13.
Just under 45 percent of consumers will find Halloween deals at discount stores, while 35 percent will go to specialty Halloween stores. Another 24 percent will get their Halloween goods from grocery stories, and another 24 percent will get theirs online, up 2 percent from last year.
As in previous years, online retailer has released a map illustrating the favorite Halloween candy in each state. It’s based on sales data from 2007-2017.
In Illinois — Candy Industry’s home state — Kit Kat, last year’s second-place pick, beat out last year’s winner, Sour Patch Kids. Snickers took third. California, the country’s most populous state, prefers Skittles, but M&M’S and salt water taffy weren’t far behind.
As for candy corn, arguably Halloween’s most polarizing treat, it took the top spot in Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island and New Mexico. Meanwhile, Delaware, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah claimed it as their second favorite.
They can have it. I’m going to Connecticut, where the top Halloween candy is Almond Joy. A trip to Colorado or Alaska wouldn’t be bad, either, since they both prefer Twix, my second favorite. projected Mars Wrigley Confectionery will have a great holiday, since the company has four out of the top five top-selling national brands: Skittles, M&M’S, Snickers and Starburst. Reese’s, a Hershey brand, came in at No. 4.
But whatever ends up in bowls, pillowcases or jack-o-lantern buckets, it’s sure to be sweet. Happy Halloween season from Candy Industry!