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Personal Finance Reports

Trick or Treat: How Much Does the Average American Spend on Halloween?

While our level of involvement may differ, most of us will be taking part in Halloween festivities in some capacity.

For the youth, enthusiasm for Halloween begins in September when costume ideas start taking shape. Once it starts, the fun doesn’t end until the candy-induced stomach ache kicks in roughly three hours after that last Twix.

While young adults may bypass the trick-or-treating, Halloween still offers a great excuse to dress up, look silly, and have a night out on the town.

Adults, who are often less excited than children, play an integral role when it comes to Halloween. Without them, who would chaperon the trick-or-treaters, hand out candy, cover houses in spooky decorations, or design the outfits that win the school costume competitions?

Like most holidays, Halloween will always have naysayers, but for the most part, it is seen as an enjoyable night that kicks off the holiday season. And according to LendEDU’s third annual Cost of Halloween survey, it is actually a day that will be forcing many to cough-up a decent-sized chunk of change. 

Average American will spend $162.29 on Halloween in 2019

With Halloween just a few short weeks away, LendEDU wanted to figure out how much families are spending on this holiday characterized by candy, costumes, and scary decorations.

​To do this, we asked 1,000 Americans that were planning on celebrating Halloween in 2019 the following question: “How much do you expect to spend celebrating Halloween this year?”

After averaging together all 1,000 responses, we found that in 2019 the average American is expecting to spend $162.29 on Halloween.

It turns out that all of the fun brought on by Halloween comes at a price that may scare a few people away before the haunted houses even have a chance. $162.29 for a few hours of spirited and spooky celebrations is nothing to sneeze at.

​So, what is making the cost of Halloween so unexpectedly high?

After respondents entered in their total estimated expenditures, we asked them to estimate how it will be proportioned between three standard Halloween expenses: candy, costumes, and decorations. 

As depicted in the above graphic, costumes are the most costly expense, making up 37% ($60.05) of the total expenditure. Depending on your levels of enthusiasm and spirit, costumes can become incredibly expensive. The more authentic the costume, the better the costume, and chances are a costume only becomes more costly as it becomes more impressive.

The second largest expense was candy, which accounted for 34% of the total money spent on the October holiday, or $55.18. Candy is to Halloween what presents are to Christmas; sweets make the spooky festivities what they are and excite all the young trick-or-treaters more so than anything else. 

Finally, the last and least prevalent of all three Halloween expenses was decorations, which accounted for 29%, or $47.06, of the $162.29 projected to be spent on Halloween this year. There are still folks out there who truly embrace the festivities and transform their dwellings into haunted houses straight out of Transylvania, but for the most part, decorations seem to be the least of the Halloween priorities. 

Website price comparison: Is it cheaper to buy Halloween products on Amazon or Walmart?

For our third annual Halloween study, we decided to add something new and rather appropriate for the way consumers shop in 2019.

Comparing 20 identical Halloween items found on both the Amazon and Walmart websites, we conducted a price comparison to see which e-commerce giant is cheaper for Halloween products.

But first, we asked our 1,000 respondents the following: Do you do the majority of your Halloween shopping on Amazon or Walmart?

  • 24% of respondents answered “Amazon”
  • 60% of respondents answered “Walmart”
  • 16% answered “I don’t use either for Halloween shopping.”

These results may flip for next year’s Halloween study after shoppers read through the price comparison data below.

Overall, Amazon is 15.45% cheaper than Walmart for Halloween products

To conduct this research, we took 20 identical Halloween items found on Amazon and Walmart and compared the prices. Specifically, we compared 10 candy items, 5 costume items, and 5 decoration items.

The following equation was used for the price comparison:

((Price of Amazon Product – Price of Walmart Product) / Price of Walmart Product) * 100

In the following graphics, a negative percentage meant the Amazon item was cheaper than the Walmart item by that much, while a positive percentage meant the Amazon item was more expensive than the Walmart item by that much.

As the above graphic depicts, the 20 identical Halloween items on Amazon were 15.45% cheaper overall than the exact same items on Walmart. The biggest difference came with decoration items, where Amazon products were 17.60% cheaper overall than those found on Walmart. The tightest price competition pertained to costume items as Amazon items were only 13.56% cheaper overall. Finally, candy items on Amazon were less expensive overall by 16.15%.

On an item-by-item basis, Amazon products were still cheaper than the identical Walmart products by an average of 8.73%. Further, on an item-by-item basis for the three categories, Amazon candy products were cheaper by an average of 9.74%, while Amazon costume products were cheaper by an average of 9.86%, and Amazon decoration products were cheaper by an average of 5.58%.

Category-by-category breakdown

In tables

In graphs

How to Cover the Additional Costs of Halloween

If you are trying to throw an awesome Halloween bash or just trying to set up a good spot for trick-or-treating, it can certainly get costly.

Below, LendEDU outlines a few different ways to cover those additional expenses that come with this holiday.

Credit Card

Perhaps the most traditional way to access extra financing, a credit card can certainly be very helpful in situations where the budget is running tight.

And, there is a wide variety of credit cards to choose from depending on what you are looking for or what your current situation is.

Personal Loan

A personal loan can be another way to expand the budget a bit via additional financing. Depending on your current financial situation, there are personal loans for good credit, fair credit, and even bad credit so be sure to do your due diligence when applying.

The process of taking out a personal loan is fairly straightforward and should not take up too much time. One thing that might help you qualify for a personal loan is by applying with a co-applicant if that is a possibility.

Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit (HELOC)

Finally, if you own a home then you can always consider tapping into your home’s equity for extra financing by taking out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Even if you have already paid off your mortgage, you can still take out a home equity loan on a paid-off house and you may even get better terms. If you decide to go this route, just be aware of the common home equity loan closing costs and fees.


All data used in this report came from a poll commissioned by LendEDU and conducted online by polling company Pollfish. In total, 1,000 adult Americans were polled on a few questions related to Halloween. Respondents were screened to ensure they were planning on celebrating Halloween in 2019. If respondents met the criteria, they were selected at random from Pollfish’s online user panel of over 100 million.

This poll was conducted over a two-day span from October 7, 2019 to October 8, 2019. All respondents were asked to answer each question truthfully and to the best of their abilities. 

For the price comparison section of the report, 20 identical items were found on the websites for both Amazon and Walmart. The 20 items that were compared were exactly the same size, weight, quantity, etc. With the exception of the “Hershey’s Chocolate Candy Mix Assortment” product that was found on October 8, 2019 for both sites, all products on both sites were found on October 5, 2019. Further, shipping costs or Prime membership fees were not included in the analysis.

​After all the products were compiled, we were able to calculate the price difference of each product using this formula:

((Price of Amazon Product – Price of Walmart Product) / Price of Walmart Product)* 100

This equation resulted in the percentage price difference by which either Amazon was more expensive than Walmart (when the percentage was positive) or Amazon was less expensive than Walmart (when percentage was negative). It is important to note that these prices are not fixed and that they are subject to fluctuation between the current time and the time the study was published.

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