Boooooo! That's not just an exclamation ghosts use to spook you on Halloween: It's an expression of discontent for a holiday without any numbers to define the consumer trends. But there's no need to get your Superman tights in a bunch. We've been stirring the cauldron night and day to deliver digits to delight the demon shopper in us all.
8 Frighteningly Interesting Statistics for Halloween
Percentage of Americans Buying Costumes: 67.4%
That figure, supplied by the National Retail Federation, represents a record for the 11 years the group has been tracking such stats. You can guess what some of the hit themes will be for 2014: new entries such as "Frozen" along with old favorites including Black & Bone, according to Party City. We're still trying to figure out what the other 32.6% of folks are doing… maybe they look scary enough without a costume?
Average Per-Person Spending: $77.52
The NRF tells us that this figure marks a 3% jump from last year. "There's no question that the variety of adult, child, and even pet costumes has driven the demand and popularity of Halloween among consumers of all ages," says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. DealNews could not reach Shay for word on his costume choice.
Gingerbread Houses Sold by Walmart: 83,000
The fine folks at Walmart also tell us that they expect to sell an additional 83,000 "Mini Villages" this season. Add all this up, and you get enough gingerbread and villages for every person living in Tempe, Arizona. Maybe Walmart can fund that next year and host a Hansel & Gretel convention.
Ratio of Adult Costumes to Children's Costumes: About 3 to 2
Most of us think of Halloween as an occasion all about the kids, but there's a reason it's far exceeded Thanksgiving as a holiday celebration: the chance for all to play dress up. The NRF estimates that while Americans will spend $1.1 billion on children's costumes, they'll shell out more on adult outfits: $1.4 billion, give or take a few fake-o gold chains. What drives this?
For starters, Thanksgiving is a much more boring costume day: You're pretty much limited to Pilgrims and turkeys. There's also some sort of psychoanalytic guess we could make about releasing the inner demon, or French maid, or whatever floats your boat. Anyway, take a good look at your costume. Mull over what it says about you. Then, see if you can retrofit it as a Turkey Day outfit. The outsized buckle from a rock star belt, we'd wager, makes a pretty nifty accessory for a Pilgrim hat.
Number of Superheroes in the Top 5 Pet Costumes: One
…and that would be Superman, according to Walmart. Rounding out the "Fearsome Fivesome" from 2013 were pumpkins, hot dogs, cats, devils, and witches. These choices seem obvious, but we do have some questions. Are cat owners disguising their cats as other cats? Was that devils, or Devil Dogs? If you dress a pit bull as a pumpkin, how effective are its snarling teeth for turning the getup into a jack-o'-lantern? Would it be more effective to tape a stick to the back of a Yorkshire Terrier and have it go out as a broom? And most important of all: When someone answers the door, should you shout "TRICK OR DOGGIE TREAT"?
Heaviest Pumpkin on Record: 2,058 lbs.
The largest pumpkin ever in the US was crowned just last week. Grown by John Hawkley, the beast weighed in at over a ton, just beating out the record set days earlier by Peter and Cindi Glasier's pumpkin (above). Which begs the question: What do they do with those monster gourds after? They're too big for a punkin' chuckin'; you can only eat so many pumpkin pies before you get sick of them; and you'd need a monster-sized chainsaw to carve any face into them.
Value of U.S. Pumpkin Production: More Than $150 Million
The figures site Statista says that pumpkin production in 2012 equaled about $150,000,000 — double what it was in 2001. Assuming the upward trend since 2009 holds up, the value will easily surpass that. That's very good news as pumpkins are low fat, contain no cholesterol, and have many antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and, E. So that $150,000,000 marks a hopeful harbinger of health, until you consider the next number.
Evergreen Family Dentistry
Spending on Halloween Candy in 2014: $2.2 Billion
The NRF cites this astounding figure, though it lacks any mention of the profits reined in by dentists effective November 1. Some concerned adults will buck the trend by giving out raisin boxes, sugar-free lollipops (the sweetener xylitol actually prevents tooth decay), toys, or other goodies. Distribute gum erasers with caution (easy to confuse with gum), along with rubber snakes (easy to confuse with gummy worms), and black licorice. (Sugary or sugar-free, it's easy to confuse with edible candy.)
And so with Halloween approaching, it's time to do what all patriotic Americans must do, and we don't mean dressing up as Uncle Sam: Enjoy yourself responsibly. Scare people without indulging in scary behavior with your credit cards. Have fun dressing up, but don't spend a whole week in your makeup, unless you work at a haunted house. Dole out the candy with generosity, but don't overindulge in the leftovers. As much as St. Patrick's Day is about the wearing' of the green, this occasion invites you to don the orange, black, and dead-zombie white. If you will, the trick is to treat yourself and your crew to a frightfully fun time.