3 trends driving Halloween celebrations in 2021

The holiday is back and consumers are ready, earlier than ever
Research Analyst
NRF Halloween headquarters

Learn more about how consumers are planning on celebrating Halloween this year.

Last year consumers adjusted many of their typical Halloween plans due to the pandemic —avoiding parties or large gatherings, skipping the trick-or-treating or simply choosing not to celebrate at all. While delta and other variants remain a concern, vaccines and other measures have made consumers feel more comfortable resuming many of their pre-pandemic activities, including celebrating Halloween. This year, two-thirds (65%) of consumers plan to celebrate one of America’s favorite holidays, up from 58 percent in 2020.

That’s spurring growth in spending, as consumers plan to spend an average of $102.74, marking the first time the amount has hit triple digits. NRF’s research team took a closer look at the data and identified three trends that are galvanizing consumers’ Halloween shopping and celebration plans this year.

It’s not just for kids.

While Halloween is still dominated by the trick-or-treat crowd, those without children are planning to embrace the holiday this year as well: 55 percent of households without children plan to celebrate, up from 49 percent in 2020. And spending on categories such as adult costumes is back to pre-pandemic levels.

The best haunted house might be in your neighborhood.

Though traditional Halloween activities like handing out candy or dressing up remain some of the most popular ways to celebrate, over half of consumers are also interested in decorating for Halloween this year. Similar to last year, 52 percent of those celebrating Halloween plan to decorate their home or yard. Total spending on decorations is expected to reach an all-time high of $3.3 billion.

Retailers are offering a variety of options for those inspired to decorate this year — from a simple ghost candle to the fan-favorite 12-foot skeleton to an over-the-top Haunted Hotel Theme Kit.

Spooky September is here to stay.

Regardless of how consumers choose to celebrate, many are getting a head start on the holiday. According to Think with Google, consumers are already searching Halloween-related topics such as group costume ideas and how many days they have until Halloween. NRF’s data shows that as of early September, over two-thirds of adults planning to dress up had already decided on their costume.

Early planning leads to early shopping, as 45 percent of consumers expected to start shopping in September or earlier, up from 36 percent five years ago. Another 39 percent plan to start the first two weeks of October and just 16 percent are waiting until the end of the month.

For more Halloween trends and data, visit NRF’s Halloween Headquarters for additional insights.

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