Halloween isn't just for kids anymore
Once upon a time, Halloween was all about kids and while that's still true, adult participation is growing year over year. According to the NRF, Roughly 55% of households without children planned to celebrate Halloween in 2021 (up from 49% back in 2020). Annual spending on adult Halloween costumes was also predicted to be around $1.5 billion.
The most popular Halloween candy is ...
Are you ready for this one? According to research by YouGov, the most popular Halloween candy is (drum roll, please) M&Ms! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups come in a close second. Interestingly enough, their findings show kids ages 8 to 14 prefer the two in reverse order. Go figure!
Here is the most popular Halloween candy for adults, ranked:
- M&Ms (original)
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
- Kit Kat
- Peanut M&Ms
- Milky Way
- Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar
- Reese's Pieces
There are millions of trick-or-treaters
In 2019, the U.S. Census estimated that there would be upwards of 41 million trick-or-treaters between the ages of five and 14. And, as of 2020, the number of potential stops for those trick-or-treaters was a whopping 126.8 million. That’s a lot of candy.
The most-Googled costume is a witch
Classic Halloween costumes never go out of style. Here are the most popular children’s Halloween costumes in 2022 (in order), according to Google:
- "Stranger Things"
- Harley Quinn
Candy corn has been around since the 1800s
Originally dubbed “Chicken Feed,” candy corn became popular once the Goelitz Company took over production in the late 1800s. Love it or hate it, he sugary-sweet treat become a Halloween staple in the 1950s.
The White House was first decorated for Halloween in 1958
Mamie Eisenhower decorated the White House for a Halloween for the first time. She decked out the State Dining Room in twinkle lights, shocks of dried corn, jack-o'-lanterns and autumnal flower arrangements for a lunch for wives of staff members. Things took a spooky turn outside the dining room, though: Black cats, owls, witch heads and goblins hung from chandeliers in the foyer.
Americans spend more than $100 on Halloween
And it's not going down anytime soon. In 2022, the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans would spend an average of $100 on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards — just short of last year's estimate of $103. Spending is expected to increase across the board, except spending on greeting cards is taking a slight dip this year. Looks like we're going digital this Halloween then!
People used to carve turnips, not pumpkins
Initially, the Irish and Scottish carved turnips as a way to remember deceased souls. When they immigrated to the U.S., they realized that pumpkins were much easier to carve and the rest, as they say, is history.
Halloween was once known as "Black Halloween"
Before costumes and trick-or-treating, Halloween was a night for pranking. The pranks eventually got out of control and in 1933, vandals caused millions of dollars of damage across the U.S., leading many people to refer to it as “Black Halloween.”
Trick-or-treating began in Canada (possibly)
The origins of trick-or-treating are still up for debate. Although some believe trick-or-treating dates back to medieval times, Henry Ansgar Kelly, a research professor specializing in medieval and renaissance studies at UCLA, said it may have started in Canada during the early 1900s as a way to deter pranksters from wrecking havoc.
Halloween isn't Day of the Dead (and vice versa)
While the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is often associated with Halloween, it shouldn't be. The Mexican holiday dates back more than 3,000 years and is a time to honor deceased loved ones. That said, it shouldn't be associated with costumes, candy and other Halloween traditions.
Halloween generates billions of dollars
Around $10 billion, to be exact. The most recent survey from the National Retail Federation predicted that Halloween would generate $10.6 billion in 2022, up from 10.14 billion in 2021. Costumes account for most of that, with kids' and adult costumes expected to exceed $2.9 billion.
Retailers made Halloween popular
From 1909 to the 1940s, the Dennison Manufacturing Co., a paper goods manufacturer located in Framingham, Mass., was one of the leading producers of Halloween costumes, invitations and decorations in the U.S. The rise in available Halloween-related goods spurred the popularity of the holiday.
Trick-or-treating took off in the 1930s
Lisa Morten, author of “Trick of Treat: The History of Halloween,” said the first official mention of trick-or-treating as a Halloween activity in the U.S. was published in the November 1939 issue of "American Home" magazine.
Americans love pet Halloween costumes
According to the National Retail Federation, one in five people planned to dress up their pet for Halloween in 2021.
The most popular pet Halloween costumes in 2022 are as follows:
- Hot dog
The Headless Horseman isn't linked to Halloween
Though everyone associates Halloween with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the original Washington Irving short story doesn’t mention Halloween even once. It’s the 1949 Disney movie, “The Headless Horseman,” that makes the connection between the two.
Stingy Jack inspired jack-o'-lanterns
"Stingy Jack," a drunk and deplorable person, cheated death three times and, each time, tricked the devil out of taking his soul. When Jack finally died, he wasn’t allowed into heaven and the devil banned him from hell. Instead, Jack was forced to wander Earth for all eternity using an ember-lit gourd to light his way.
It wasn't always called "Halloween"
There are several theories about the origin of the word “Halloween.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "Halloween" stems from “All Hallow’s Eve.” However, in 1773, the Scottish began calling it, “Hallow-e’-en.” Then, a few years later, poet Robert Burns put the words together in the poem titled “Halloween” and we’ve been writing it that way ever since.
Everyone loves candy (like a lot)
So many Halloween activities, so little time! In 2022, the National Retail Foundation said that passing out candy was the most popular way to spend Halloween— and understandably so. Other common ways that people celebrate include:
- Decorating their home or yard
- Dressing up in costume
- Carving pumpkins
- Throwing or attending a party
Candied apples were a total mistake
The beloved Halloween treat is said to have been invented by William W. Kolb, a New Jersey confectioner, in 1908. The candy maker supposedly dipped an apple into a cinnamon glaze as an experiment and discovered that patrons loved them.