Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have changed dramatically. When I was young, we made costumes out things we had around the house. Pirates, gypsies, and ghosts were some of our creations. Sometimes, since we did a lot of sewing in those days, we’d make special costumes.
When my kids were young, boxed Halloween costumes began to appear. They were made of thin, cheap material, but they expanded the costume possibilities significantly.
About the same time, rubber masks that looked like famous people were being sold. I remember seeing the masks of presidents Carter and Reagan and being amused.
Today, costumes are better quality and cost more. And the types and kinds available are astounding.
This year, consumers plan to spend an average of $21 on costumes, which includes children’s and pets’ costumes, reports a National Retail Federation survey. They’ll also spend $18 on candy, $15 on decorations, and $3 on greeting cards.
In total, consumers are expected to spend an average of $56 on Halloween, down from $67 last year. Total spending on the holiday is expected to reach $4.75 billion.
Nearly one in three – 29.6 percent – consumers say the state of the U.S. economy will impact their Halloween spending plans.
Of those who will be affected, the largest majority – 88 percent – plans to spend less overall. Others say they'll be buying less candy – 46.5 percent; using last year’s decorations without buying new ones – 35.4 percent; making costumes instead of purchasing them – 16.8 percent; reusing last year’s costumes – 15.8 percent; and not participating in as many Halloween activities such as haunted houses or fall festivals – 26.4 percent.
Here are other facts and figures on Halloween 2009 from the U.S. Census BureauTrick or treat
The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2008 – children 5 to 13 – across the United States. This number is up about 65,000 from a year earlier.111.4 million
Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2008 – all potential stops for trick-or-treaters.93%
Percentage of households with residents who consider their neighborhood safe, according to a U.S. Census Bureau Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States survey. In addition, 78 percent said there was no place within a mile of their homes where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.Jack-o’-lanterns and pumpkin pies
1.1 billion pounds
Total production of pumpkins by major pumpkin-producing states in 2008. Illinois led the country by producing 496 million pounds of the vined, orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, Pennsylvania, and New York also provided lots of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $141 million.
Where to spend Halloween
Some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood are:
- Transylvania County, N.C. – 30,187 residents
- Tombstone, Ariz. – population 1,566
- Pumpkin Center, N.C. – population 2,228
- Pumpkin Bend, Ark. – population 307
- Cape Fear in New Hanover County, N.C. – 15,711 residents
- Cape Fear in Chatham County, N.C. – 1,170 residents
- Skull Creek, Neb. – population 271
Candy and costumes
Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2007, employing 38,794 people, and shipping $13.2 billion worth of goods. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 143, followed by Pennsylvania, with 115.
Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionery products in 2007. These establishments employed 18,250 people and shipped $6.6 billion worth of goods that year. California led the nation in this category, with 70 establishments.
Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2008.2,011
Number of costume rental and formal wear establishments across the nation in 2007.
I hope Halloween 2009 is one of your best ever. Good luck in buying or creating a great costume, if you're going to a party or if you plan to entertain trick-or-treaters.
My next post will be on "What Do You Like to Serve for a Halloween Party."