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Happy Halloween! Wait, Americans spend how much on candy?!

'Happy Halloween,' reads store signs across the United States. Halloween is one of the most profitable holidays of the year. Why? Candy!

By / October 31, 2012

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Supermarkets, costume shops, and even Google's homepage wished people "Happy Halloween" today. The sweet 'n' spooky holiday is a major moneymaker in the United States, with the average American spending $79.82 this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

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That includes decorations, costumes, greeting cards, and a whole lot of candy.

Just how much chocolate, gummy worms, and lollipops are we talking about? The National Confectioners Association says that Americans will buy more than 600 million pounds of candy this year – just for Halloween. That adds up to $2.4 billion spent on sweets in the weeks leading up to Oct. 31.

Halloween marks the biggest candy holiday of the year, followed by Easter, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. While All Hallows' Eve may take the candy-laced cake, those other holidays enjoy some staggering numbers as well:

  • 16 billion jellybeans are made for Easter each year, along with 90 million chocolate bunnies.
  • 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate arrive for Valentine's Day.
  • 35 million pounds of candy corn go on sale each autumn. (If you laid each piece end-to-end, you could circle the moon 20 times.)

Plus, candy isn't even the biggest share of America's Halloween spending. Last year, the US spent more on costumes than sweets. 

If you want a sneak peak of what trick-or-treaters will wear tonight – or if you need a last-minute idea – the National Retail Federation polled Americans on their top choices. Adults picked witches, vampires, and pirates. Kids wanted to be princesses, Batman, and Spider-Man. And pets (mostly dogs) will go as pumpkins, devils, and hot dogs.

All together, the US will spend $8 billion this Halloween, making it eighth biggest holiday in terms of sales. Can you guess the others? The No. 1 slot should be obvious: the winter holiday season reigns supreme at $586 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. The runners-up include back-to-school shopping, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, the Super Bowl, and then Halloween.

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