It may come as a shock to some — and this is the shocking season, after all — that Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday after Christmas, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition when you think about it. Number one is all about angels and a baby's birth in a manger; number two is all about demons and graveyards.
We've already told you about how to save on your Halloween spending, but now we want to look at how all that spooktacular celebrating will go down. And so straight from the DealNews Crypt, we present our 2015 Halloween by the numbers.
Average Per-Person Halloween Spending: $74.34
The bean counters at the National Retail Federation have come up with a figure that's slightly lower than last year's $77.52. It's a drop of just 4%, and it could well be due to brisk competition in the marketplace. "Consumers are ready to take advantage of promotions on candy, decorations, and costumes, and retailers are ready to serve them," says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.
Total Halloween Spending: $6.9 Billion
Those NRF digits add up to an endless supply of ninja swords and Incredible Hulk masks. It's also a prodigious supply of dollar bills, which if stacked up would extend close to 470 miles. This is almost as long as the path any 5-year-old will take to make sure he's rung every single doorbell in every single local neighborhood to collect every single piece of candy he can.
Spending on Halloween Candy: $2.1 Billion
Here's another figure that's down just a hair from 2014, when the candy cache hit $2.2 billion. There's perhaps a way to explain this, but it's correlated to a stat not yet tallied: the number of rotted-out teeth in 2014. It's possible that kids with fewer teeth will consume fewer sweets out of sheer fear this year. (Plus, they now lack the proper equipment for biting into jawbreakers.)
Number of Pumpkin Cultivars: More Than Two Dozen
While most of us would rather consume pumpkins than grow them, this is a ripe season for the harvest — and for dishing the dirt on how agricultural folks like to goof on naming the different types. The Penn State Extension lists some pretty typical names (Prizewinner, Growers Giant) but also some names worthy of your next costume party: Sorcerer, Magic Lantern, Mystic Plus, and Baby Boo. But none of those monikers beat these two reserved for ornamental varieties: Bunch O' Warts and Knuckle Head.
Number of Star Wars Characters in the Top 10 Dog Costumes: Three
In what appears to be a ranking as silly as it is unscientific, Halloween Express has released its picks for the Top 10 doggie disguises, and guess who's number one? Why, it's that cuddly Sith lord Darth Vader! The costume comes complete with helmet and cape, but alas no lightsaber (which Fido would mistake for a bone, anyway).
Americans are expected to shell out about $1 on pet costumes for every $3 spent on kids' costumes.
Lower down the list, Yoda comes in at number five and the Ewok comes in at number eight. And how will all those dog (and other pet) costumes tally up?
Spending on Animal Costumes: $350 Million
What does it say about our priorities as a nation when we're spending $1 on pet outfits for every $3 we spend on our kids' costumes? Actually, it's one buck for every $2.71, as the NRF report shows that children's costume spending is expected to hit $950 million. And the big kiddos — that is adults — will spend the most, totaling $1.2 billion.
Heaviest Pumpkin on Record: 2,323 Pounds
You have to wonder if those pumpkins are pumping steroids when no one's looking. As recently as 2013, the heaviest pumpkin ever grown was 2,009 pounds, but by October 2014 the gourd record was squashed at least several times — and by the same grower.
NBC's Today show reported that in the first days of fall, Beni Meier in Switzerland had grown a behemoth that crushed the scales at 2,096 pounds. But several weeks later, he had two other pumpkins weighing in at 2,102 and 2,323 pounds. That makes you feel sorry for the 2,096-pound jumbo, who went from being King of the Patch to the Not-So-Great Pumpkin.
Waiting List for the World's Most Exclusive Haunted House: More Than 24,000
Even if you're able to watch every Nightmare on Elm Street and Texas Chainsaw Massacre film straight through without so much as a bathroom break, there's a near 100% chance you wouldn't have made it all the way through McKamey Manor in San Diego. Last year, The New York Daily News reported the five-digit waiting list existed even though no one ever made it through the whole gruesome gauntlet, including a Marine and so-called adrenaline junkie.
And no wonder: While the haunt is closing down, in its prime it would take a minimum of four hours to go through, and only two people could go through at once. Visitors could expect to stick their head in a cage of snakes, eat rotten eggs, or have a tarantula crawl on their face. But as loyal readers know, this is tame — very tame — compared to the scene outside any big box store just moments before the stroke of Black Friday.
So how will you dress up for Halloween? Whom do you plan to scare? Or is your plan to gorge on as many Twizzlers and peanut butter cups as possible?