How Americans Will Spend $2.5 Billion on Halloween Candy

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In a typical week, Americans spend about $300 million to buy 76 million pounds of sweets. In the run-up to the big candy holidays — Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween — that number can skyrocket. The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects U.S. candy sales to reach $2.5 billion for this coming Halloween.

According to a Nielsen survey completed in 2015, Americans spent $823 million in the week before Easter last year. Halloween sales are spread more evenly over several weeks before the holiday itself, but most of the buying for Halloween candy takes place in the month of October, driving the per week average to around $625 million in the run-up to the holiday.

The most expensive average expenditure on candy is around $6.50 a pound for Valentine’s Day chocolates. Easter candy checks in at about $5.75 a pound, and Halloween candy costs just over $4 a pound, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA). No question about it: Halloween is all about volume.

Here are some trick-or-treat tidbits from the NCA:

  • 76 percent of households plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters this year
  • 82 percent of people over the age of 45 plan to be home to greet trick-or-treaters
  • 72 percent of households will hand out two (50 percent) or three (22 percent) pieces of candy per trick-or-treater
  • Nearly 3/4 of Americans (72 percent) say that chocolate is their favorite Halloween treat
  • Chocolate scored top points among all age groups, but was most popular among those ages 45 to 60 who preferred it over other candies by 78 percent (compared to 68 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds)
  • Candy corn came in a distant second, garnering about 12 percent of the vote, even though 52 percent of people say it’s just not Halloween without candy corn

Parents support the notion that sharing is a critical piece of the Halloween celebration. Nearly half (47%) have a house rule that everyone must share. Parents also report that they enjoy some of their children’s Halloween bounty by sneaking it when the kids aren’t looking (25%). More than 20% claim that they don’t sneak a piece of candy from the kids’ stash or insist that the candy be shared.