Retailers, Here Are This Year’s Most Important Halloween Trends

When it comes to Halloween, the times they certainly are a-changing.

And that, according to new data released by the National Retail Federation, is precisely the point, as Halloween is a less “traditional” holiday than most and therefore more open to different interpretations for how to celebrate it.

“Unlike more traditional holidays, Halloween is less rooted and more flexible. Everything from who celebrates, how they celebrate and what they wear while celebrating is up for interpretation each year, keeping retailers on their toes,” according to the National Retail Federation.

This year’s Halloween is also expected to be a record-breaker, with over 171 million Americans planning to celebrate this year spending an average of $82.93, forecasting a total spend of $8.4 billion on U.S. Halloween sales, which would amount to an all-time high for the holiday, according to data provided by the National Retail Federation.

First and foremost, Halloween is no longer a holiday traditionally for children, as millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 are the most likely to participate in the holiday. Millennials are also the top costume spenders, spending $42.39 on their costumes compared to $31.03 for the average adult. And millennials’ desire to attend a Halloween party has increased 10.9 percent from 2006.

The NRF also believes that social media is largely fueling the costume trend, as 28.4 percent of millennials plan to turn to Pinterest this year for inspiration on their costume, while 23.3 percent plan to use YouTube, although women are twice as likely to be influenced by Pinterest, while men are over 50 percent more likely to use YouTube for costume ideas.

“In the era of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, there is no hiding a bad costume — and a clever costume makes for a buzzworthy addition to digital timelines,” according to the National Retail Federation. “Retailers can be a part of the action by helping consumers find everything they need to enjoy a seasonal party.”

Trick-or-treating also appears to be on the wane, somewhat. Only about 29.7 percent of families surveyed by the NRF said they planned to take their children trick-or-treating this year, the second lowest number ever recorded (second only to last year).

“This is not due to lack of celebrating, though. Community events such as parking lot ‘Trunk-or-Treating’ and Halloween festivals are popping up across the country as alternative options,” according to the National Retail Federation. “With concerns over food ingredients like sugar, gluten and nuts — and the general fear of taking candy from strangers — it’s not surprising to see parents looking for safer celebrations.”

Although trick-or-treating might be on the wane, the number of people who plan to dress in costumes this year will reach an all-time high of 47 percent, according to the NRF, while 46 percent plan to carve a pumpkin and 21 percent said they will visit a haunted house.

“Enthusiasm for candy might be fizzling in favor of experiences and events,” according to the National Retail Federation.

According to the survey, which asked 6,791 U.S. consumers about their Halloween shopping plans from Sept. 6 through Sept. 13, dishing out candy to trick-or-treaters will be the most popular form of Halloween celebration this year, at 71 percent, followed by decorating the yard/home at 49 percent, dressing in a costume at 47 percent, carving a pumpkin at 46 percent, going to/hosting a Halloween party at 34 percent, taking children trick-or-treating at 30 percent, visiting a haunted house at 21 percent and dressing their pets up in costume at 16 percent.

As for the most popular costume this Halloween, among children it will be a superhero, followed by a princess and then some form of animal; for millennials it will be a Batman character (Batman, The Joker, Harley Quinn, etc.), then a witch and then an animal; for adults over 35, the most popular costume will be a witch, then a pirate and then some form of political costume; and the most popular pet costume will be a pumpkin, followed by a hotdog.