Halloween 2018 – Are you ready? 

Halloween spending in America will hit $9 billion in 2018 according to National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. More than 175 million Americans will partake in Halloween festivities this year.  The first recorded instance of Trick or Treating in America was recorded in 1934. However Irish, Welsh and Scottish bairns have been guising (going from door to door in costume for food or coins) since 1895, potentially eliminating the argument that Halloween is only for Americans.

Here to stay

Love it or hate it, Halloween is well and truly settling into Australia as a permanently recognised event. Parents are trying to find the perfect costume; retail outlets are frantically trying to provide more themed decorations; lollies can’t be purchased or consumed quick enough; and neighbourhoods are filling up with more children knocking on doors on October 31st.

Retailers have responded to the Halloween celebration by stocking merchandise, costumes, lollies and pumpkins in abundance. For Australian retailers, Halloween fills the lull between Father’s Day and Christmas. There is also an increase in adult Halloween parties resulting in higher food, beverage and decoration purchases.

Google Trends shows that in October, searches for ‘Halloween Australia’ have been on a steady increase for over a decade.

Halloween google searches in Australia over the last decade
Google searches for Halloween Australia

There is also a clear increase in searches for Halloween events in Australia in October indicating the interest in attending Halloween Events is also on the rise. Theme parks and shopping centres cater more to Halloween as an event, providing Zombie Walks for children to safely trick or treat, and scary night time events at theme parks.

So, what about Halloween in Australia?

  • Halloween prop and decoration sales have increased by 82% over the past 5 years.
  • Costume Sales increased by 31% in the past 5 years. While this is lower than some may expect, it may due to the close timing of Halloween to Book week in Australia (August). The re-use of the lovable characters created for book week could result in a lower need for anther costume purchase. Australian children seem to prefer dressing up as superheroes and pleasant characters rather than scary costumes which are more familiar in America.
  • Pumpkin carving demand has tripled since 2012.  Retailers report that $1.5 million was spent on pumpkins in 2017 alone!  In 2016, Coles expected to sell 270 tonnes alone in the lead up to Halloween.
  • In 2017, a Woolworths spokesperson told The New Daily that they expected to sell 4.5 million packets of lollies, or 820,000 kilograms of chocolate, in the two weeks leading up to Halloween.

It’s expected that 1 in 5 Australians will celebrate Halloween – that’s about 5 million people. At GWI, our poll shows that this number could be higher, as 40% of people in the office will be celebrating this year.

The good thing about Halloween is that it’s an excuse to engage and communicate with our neighbours, dress up and eat lots of lollies. Whether you agree with Australians celebrating Halloween or not, the data shows its popularity is on the rise. And really, anything that brings kids some joy can’t be that bad right?

GWI Consultant Elisabeth Brennan

Elizabeth Brennan