Summer hasn’t officially ended, but the Halloween retail push is well underway. Many major retailers are already selling Halloween fare, Spirit Halloween stores are popping up, and candy makers have released this year’s lineup of Halloween-themed treats. 

Last year saw record-breaking Halloween-related sales, estimated at more than $10 billion, as participation in the holiday rose significantly from 2020. How many Americans will be spending on candy, costumes, decorations, and other items this year? CivicScience took a look at what to expect for the 2022 Halloween shopping season.

1. Trick-or-treating is still a mixed bag.

Trick-or-treating is a major driver for one of the holiday’s highest-grossing categories: candy. Given the general increase in comfort participating in public activities, it seems unlikely that COVID would impact trick-or-treating regulations in most places in the U.S., but it’s potentially still a wait-and-see. 

Recent survey data find that a little over half of parents (54%) of trick-or-treat-aged children say they’ll let their kids go door-to-door this year, if the event is allowed to take place in their area. The remainder of parents are largely split between ‘possibly’ and ‘definitely not’ allowing their kids to trick-or-treat. 

COVID may not be the deciding factor for all parents who don’t support trick-or-treating, however, given that not every household participates in the holiday. Area may also play a role; parents in cities are the most likely to give the thumbs up to trick-or-treating, while rural parents are the least likely.

2. The majority of U.S. adults plan to hand out candy / chocolate treats.

Can trick-or-treaters expect to take home a good haul this year? Around two-thirds of American households say they will be giving out treats this Halloween. 

Mini-candy bars or mixed treat bags remain the year-over-year most popular options to offer, but some lucky kids (and parents) will make out with full- or king-sized candy bars from 30% of participating households. Candy and chocolate reign supreme – just 5% of treat-givers plan to hand out other kinds of snacks, such as potato chips, fruit, or nuts.

3. 1-in-3 people who typically shop for Halloween will spend less this year.

The percentage of U.S. adults who say they’ll hand out treats (66%) is close to the percentage of those who typically spend money on Halloween (72%), according to recent survey results.

However, inflated prices could cause many to cut back on spending, as more than one-third of typical Halloween spenders say they will spend less this year compared to last year. Alternately, nearly one-fifth of typical spenders are planning to spend more.

How does that stack up to last year’s numbers? When survey respondents were asked the same question last year, one-quarter said they were spending less on Halloween than they did in 2020. That number jumped 27% between the 2021 and 2022 surveys, which may indicate a greater risk to retail sales.

4. Most will shop for Halloween in stores instead of online.

Part of the fun of Halloween is the seasonal shopping experience. With COVID concerns on the back burner, Halloween is likely to bring a good amount of foot traffic to brick-and-mortars this year.

More than 80% of people who are shopping or planning to shop for Halloween candy and decor will head to stores instead of shop online. That said, online Halloween shopping has seen a massive lift over the past five years – in 2018, just 5% of Halloween shoppers were shopping online, compared to 17% today.

5. Big-box stores, specialty pop-ups, and Amazon lead Halloween retail.

Which stores are celebrators most likely to visit this year for Halloween products? More prefer big-box stores than any other store type – nearly one-third of Halloween shoppers are most likely to shop at these major retailers, such as Target and Walmart.

Specialty pop-up stores such as Spirit Halloween are tied with Amazon (and other online-only sellers) as the next most popular Halloween shopping destination. Just 13% are most likely to shop at discount stores such as Dollar Tree or Family Dollar for Halloween goods.

Halloween participation in 2022 looks relatively healthy, but decreased spending may lead to a less robust retail season compared to 2021. Even so, brick-and-mortars still stand to benefit as shoppers are planning to do more shopping in stores than online, and will likely be on the lookout for sales and deals.