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18 frightening Halloween facts

One example: Kit Kat lovers have a 37% better chance of scoring their favorite treat at a ranch-style home.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 14, 2011 9:33AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


I love Halloween. It's one of my favorite holidays -- and based upon its mass appeal, apparently I'm not alone.


In fact, even though the wicked economy continues to put a scare into most of us, it hasn't dampened our spirits when it comes to celebrating what was originally known as All Hallows' Eve.


So just how hot is Halloween? Well, it's so popular that it's downright spooky. To prove it, here are a few bone-chilling financial facts from the National Retail Federation -- along with some other horrendous Halloween trivia I dug up -- that I bet you've all been dying to know:

  • The Halloween business is absolutely monstrous. Americans will spend $6.9 billion in 2011 on everything from candy and costumes to decorations. That's an increase of 16% from what consumers said they would spend last season.
  • Here's another shocking survey finding: The average consumer intends to spend $72.31 on Halloween products this year. That's $6.03 more than last year.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 41 million trick-or-treaters last year between the ages of 5 and 14. It's unknown how many cranky old people sat on their front porches screaming, "Get the heck off my lawn!"
  • This year, seven in 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween. That's the highest level of participation in the survey's nine-year history. I assume the other three prefer gardening. Or giving trespassing kids the evil eye. Post continues after video.
  • Then again, who says Halloween is just for kids? Believe it or not, in 2011 adults are collectively expected to spend $210 million more on Halloween costumes for themselves than their own little hobgoblins.
  • Don't forget Fido: Americans also plan on spending $310 million to dress up their pets this year.
  • With more than $2.5 billion being spent on Halloween costumes alone, it's no wonder there were 1,719 costume-rental establishments across America as of 2009.
  • If you plan on attending a neighborhood Halloween party this year, you can reduce the chance of bumping into your sartorial doppelganger by avoiding one of the five most popular adult costumes in 2011: a witch, a pirate, a vampire, a zombie, and Batman.
  • I'd be lying if I told you I'm glad the "vampy vixen" costume failed to crack the top five this year. It's currently ranked seventh. Maybe next year.
  • Census data show that 92% of American households consider their neighborhoods safe. Yes, that includes the folks living in places like Tombstone, Ariz., and Cape Fear, N.C.
  • Even so, that won't stop parents like me from checking the kids' Halloween candy for signs of tampering.
  • If it will make you feel any better, there has been only one documented case since 1974 of a child being killed by a lethal Halloween treat -- and in that lone instance, the Grim Reaper turned out to be the father.
  • Speaking of Halloween candy, the typical household is expected to spend $21.05 on Halloween candy this year.
  • By the way, if you hate crowds, make sure you avoid the stores on Oct. 28. That day just so happens to be the biggest day of the year for candy sales.
  • In all, Americans will spend more than $2 billion this year on candy to keep their neighborhood trick-or-treaters happy. Hopefully, they'll avoid the Halloween treats kids hate more than anything.
  • Perhaps that large confection market is why, in 2009, the U.S. had 1,177 establishments producing chocolate and cocoa products, employing more than 34,000 people. Somewhat ironically, a lot of kids will tell you that many of the most popular Halloween treats don't involve chocolate at all.
  • Still, if you insist on giving out chocolate this Halloween, you'll probably want to know that the four most popular candy varieties are Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat, and M&M's.
  • Here's an eerie trick (.pdf file) for scaring up your favorite treats: Kit Kat lovers might be interested to know that they have a 37% better chance of scoring that crispy confection at a ranch-style home. And any self-respecting Reese's Peanut Butter Cup fan should realize they have a 26% greater chance of getting those tasty treats at two-story houses.

Then again, I usually avoid the hassle entirely by just buying -- and squirreling away -- an extra bag for myself. Just don't tell my kids.


More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:

Oct 14, 2011 2:00PM
Halloween is a chance to escape our day to day lives and become someone else for a day. Who wouldn't want to do that these days? The economy is in the toilet! So dress up, eat some candy, and have some fun. We can all go back to reality the next day knowing that we had a Happy Halloween!
Oct 14, 2011 1:52PM
It's about females having the chance to finally dress the way they REALLY want to dress all the time and not be judged for it. And a time for men to feast their eyes upon them with wicked intent!
Oct 14, 2011 2:17PM
fun go buy a trampy outfit you sexy ladies!
Oct 14, 2011 2:25PM
"What exactly is Halloween about anyway?"

As Southpark has said "It's all about candy"
Oct 18, 2011 12:19AM

Quite frankly your way off. Holloween is a Druid holiday - Not Christian - that was so deeply entrenched into the secular world that the Pope (of that day) decreed a new holiday would replace it know as "All Saints Day" on Nov 1 & so as not to offend those who were still practicing the Druidism, along with Catholasism, the religious leaders proclaimed the evening before as "All Hallowed Eve" or "All Saints Eve".

This in turn turned into to todays holloween. It, in itself, is still a day of worship, for those who still practice this Druidism (a form of "white" witchcraft), for the Lord of the Dead know as "Sanheim"

This is why most truly Christian faiths will not practice, or will speak against the practice of, this holiday. In our home we line it up with the jewish holiday of the "Feast of the Tabernacles" as God ordered us to do as a holiday of the Harvest! There's obviously more to all of this than just what I have written but can be readily found on the internet.  

Oct 14, 2011 3:49PM

@wj2106 - Actually, Halloween is a holiday.  It's not a federal observed holiday like you list, but it is a Christian holiday name All-Hallows-Even, and is not observed in all countries.  It's actually two days long.  The day of Halloween is known as All-Hallows-Even (evening), and the next day (the first of November) is known as All-Hallows-Day or All-Saints-Day.  We Americans of course commercialized the day to generate large sums of income, and renamed it Halloween in the 1950's.

Oct 14, 2011 2:31PM
I love the costumes! even the celebrities get into it. Checkout the 
Destination360 Halloween costumes slideshow
pretty amazing. Rated PG
Oct 14, 2011 2:52PM
Halloween is another good example of the secularization/Americanization of a Christian celebration.  It is the eve of all Hallows, or the Holy Ones.  As the Christian calendar goes, there are more saints than can fit onto the annual calendar.  So, the Church celebrates ALL the saints on one day (many people have a favorite). This is known as All Saints Day.  This is followed by a day which marks all of the deceased, or, All Souls Day.  It is a time during this season in which many cultures and religions recollect; a time when the harvest takes place, and at a time when the life cycle seems to go to rest, before the burgeoning of new life in the spring.  The lives of the saints are supposed to inspire--if that equates to "fun," so be it.  I am not so sure wher all the candy fits in though :)
Oct 14, 2011 1:31PM
What exactly is Halloween about anyway?
Oct 14, 2011 2:55PM
Len--Halloween is NOT a holiday!! New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday, Good Friday, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas ARE Holidays......
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