Some people (even some communities) take Halloween very seriously. “Halloween has become a destination holiday,” writes Anne Marie Chaker (@AnneMarieChaker). “Gone is the obligatory meet-and-greet of neighbors who live close by. Now, on Halloween in cities and in many suburbs, children descend on a few streets that take decorations seriously and create a spooky carnival feel. For host streets, there are rising expectations that they will put on a show and provide candy.” People, it seems, enjoy being scared (or, at least, entertained). Chaker writes about one woman who turned her yard into “a ‘creepy witches’ party’.” To transform her yard, the woman bought costumes, spray paint, glue, and other crafting supplies. She used 9 yards of velvet for capes. She festooned her front porch with a half-dozen illuminated hats and a dozen brooms. She created a “potion table” that included a large papier-mâché spell book, colored bottles and a cauldron with green lights inside. On her front lawn she planted a 3-foot sign reading “Come Little Children.” And, of course, there was candy.
Record Halloween Spending
“Americans’ enthusiasm for celebrating Halloween is only growing,” reports Daphne Howland (@daphnehowland), “and they’re poised to spend a record $9.1 billion on costumes, candy, decorations and cards — 8.3% more than last year’s previous record of $8.4 billion, according to research from National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.” She continues:
“When it comes to Halloween, the big money is in costumes, and across the U.S. people of all ages — and their pets — dress up for the creepy, sugar-fueled fun; 69% of Halloween shoppers buy costumes. More than 3.7 million children plan to dress as their favorite action character or superhero, 2.9 million as Batman characters and another 2.9 million as their favorite princess, while 2.2 million will take a more traditional route and dress as a cat, dog, monkey or other animal, the survey found. … In all this year, consumers plan to spend $3.4 billion on costumes, $2.7 billion on candy (95% of shoppers buy candy), $2.7 billion on decorations (72%) and $410 million on greeting cards (37%).”
Online and traditional retailers will both benefit from increased Halloween spending.
Although the costumes and the decorations are fun, it’s the candy that draws children of all ages into the streets. Candy is what puts the “treat” in trick-or-treat. Howland reports, “The NRF and Prosper found that 71% [of all households] plan to hand out candy.” It surprised me to learn that candy corn “is the second favorite Halloween treat, following the always tasty chocolate, as studied by the National Confectioners Association and they estimate that as much as 20 million pounds of candy corn is sold annually.” I was also surprised to learn that Halloween candy played an important role in getting daylight savings time extended. Alex Batty (@mhi_alex) explains, “The candy pumpkin [is] made of a substance called mellowcreme. These interestingly textured candies also played a role in the current enactment of Daylight Savings. Candy makers wanted daylight savings to extend past Halloween so that trick-or-treaters had an extra hour of daylight to collect candy. During 1985 Congressional hearings, confectioners put candy pumpkins on senator’s seats to try and curry a little favor. Finally, in 2005, Daylight Savings was extended to the first Sunday in November to include Halloween.”
Tomorrow you are probably going to discover your kids have a big pile of candy or that you bought too much treat-or-treat candy to handout. You might be asking yourself, “What’s the shelf life of Halloween candy?” Fortunately, Emily DiNuzzo (@EmilyDiNuzzo) has an answer. She writes, “Not all Halloween candy is created equal and, because of that, each treat will last different lengths of time. Determining how long you have to eat your favorite candy comes down to what type it is and how you store it — and it’s probably longer than you think.” She offers some general rules to follow. They include:
- Know your ingredients. “How long your candy will last depends on the ingredients. ‘Generally, it is very difficult for candy to spoil, due to its low moisture content, but it depends on the candy,’ Registered Dietitian Lisa DeFazio told INSIDER. … The good news is that plain chocolate bars are one of those long-lasting candies. [Plain chocolate can last up to a year.] This is especially true when compared to chocolate bars with other ingredients like nuts, seeds, or peanut butter. The added ingredients go bad before the chocolate itself, thus making the whole bar inedible.”
- Edible doesn’t mean good-tasting. “The quality of the candy is often more important than the expiration date when it comes to the window of time you have to eat it. The better the quality, the longer it will last. Typically, caramels, candy corn, jelly candies, and gum, can last anywhere from six to nine months, as long as they are still packaged.”
- Candies are like mushrooms. They like cool, dry places. “Keeping your candy away from the light and in a cool, dry place can improve its chances of lasting as long as possible.”
DiNuzzo concludes, “When it comes to eating old Halloween candy, there are only a few facts you need to know: Keep an eye out for mold and store your candy properly. And remember, although it’s possible to eat older candy, eating tons of sugar isn’t good for your health — even if it may be good for the soul.”
Whether you are trying to ward off spirits or attract treat-or-treaters, Halloween’s popularity is growing. In addition to the 71% of people who plan to hand out candy, the NRF and Prosper also found “49% will decorate their home, 48% will wear costumes, 46% will carve a pumpkin, 35% will throw or attend a party, 31% will take their children trick-or-treating, 23% will visit a haunted house and 16% will dress pets in costumes.” However you plan to celebrate, celebrate safely. From all of us at Enterra Solutions®, Happy Halloween!
 Anne Marie Chaker, “Find the Best Places to Trick or Treat,” The Wall Street Journal, 5 October 2016.
 Daphne Howland, “Halloween spending to reach record $9.1B,” Retail Dive, 22 September 2017.
 Alex Batty, “Halloween Fun Facts,” MHI, 28 October 2016.
 Emily DiNuzzo, “This is how long Halloween candy lasts, so preserve your stash accordingly,” Insider, 28 September 2017.