Across the US, the National Retail Foundation (NRF) expects 2023’s Halloween spending to hit a record $12.2 Billion, exceeding last year’s $10.6 billion. NRF data shows Americans spend an average of $108 each on costumes, candy, home décor, and party supplies. About 32% of respondents say they plan to throw or attend a Halloween party. “The last time that number was anywhere near there was 2019, right before the pandemic,” says Philip Rist, a US-based retail analyst and executive vice president of strategy at Prosper Insights & Analytics. Why are Americans spending this much on Halloween, even as consumers tighten their budgets with the rising cost of living? Economic uncertainty leads to consumers clinging to rituals, agree experts, especially ones that don’t require the major spending and familial expectations of more religious holidays. Social media can also drive sales, as users share their Halloween stories, decorations, and costumes. “It’s very easy for people to share their creativity more broadly… and to see what other people are doing,” says Katherine Cullen, vice president of industry and consumer insights at the NRF. “I think it’s continued to give life to the holiday and kept it at the forefront for a lot of consumers.”
According to Goodwill Industries International‘s Halloween Survey, four in five Americans (81%) plan to celebrate Halloween this year. Aside from wearing a costume, the most popular ways people plan to celebrate include giving out candy to trick-or-treaters (53%), decorating their home (43%), and/or attending a party with family/friends (34%). Three in five adults (59%) say that rising costs due to inflation make them more likely to create DIY Halloween costumes than purchase from a store. Among those who prefer DIY Halloween costumes, 70% would rather shop in-store for DIY costume materials, compared to just 13% who prefer to shop online. “Halloween is Goodwill’s busiest season as customers embrace do-it-yourself costume and décor shopping at Goodwill stores,” said Onney Crawley, chief marketing officer of Goodwill Industries International. Explore costume ideas, DIY décor and makeup tutorials, and more at Goodwill’s official website.
U.S. Haunts & Events
From October 29th – to October 31st, Hulu is taking over the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, CA, with its immersive “Huluween: Now Screaming” experience. This haunted maze experience will be filled with a collection of scream-worthy experiences highlighting some of the scariest titles streaming on Hulu, including FX’s “American Horror Story,” “Goosebumps,” “Annabelle,” “The Boogeyman”, and more. If viewers thought these were scary on screen, this brand-new activation will bring them to life in a more frightening way than they could ever imagine. Guests will never know what’s lurking around the corner… but those brave enough will find out! Guests may enter at their own risk from 4:00 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. each day, and reservations can be made via Fever. Admission is free, and there will be a standby line for those who did not secure an appointment.
The 25th Annual Douglas Halloween Parade for Adults will occur in Downtown Douglas, Michigan, on Saturday, October 28th. Each year, this event draws 10,000+ people to Douglas to witness this extravaganza of creativity in costuming and performing arts.
Have a love for both all things spooky and the sea? Join various kindred spirits in Morro Bay and Ventura Harbor Village (CA) for their annual Witches & Warlocks Paddle events. Breakout your broomstick and get out on the water with a paddle board or kayak for a spooky Halloween experience. Ventura Harbor Village will host their event on Friday, October 27th at 4:00 p.m. Morro Bay will host their event on Sunday, October 29th from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m
Home Haunters Holly and Mark Graves (Brandon, MS) were featured on their local news station for their yearly display. Every year, the Graves have a theme to their yard and house, which carries over to a Halloween party. “This year’s theme is ‘Witches and Warlocks’,” they said. “So naturally, we went with a witch’s cauldron, and that’s the main centerpiece. We did the torture rack to go along with it and the graveyard scene… Every year, we say at the end of the year, we need to tone it back… And then October 1st hits, and it’s like the bug.”
Food & Beverage
Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced the return of Boorito, the brand’s annual Halloween tradition, with a national $6 digital entrée offer from 3 p.m. local time to close on October 31 for Chipotle Rewards members. New for 2023, the brand is extending its operating hours to the witching hour (midnight) at 53 select college town locations. Chipotle is also turning up the heat on digital orders after hours. The first 100 digital orders placed between 10 p.m. local time and midnight at each of the 53 locations open late will receive an exclusive bottle of TABASCO® Brand Scorpion Sauce, the spookiest hot sauce made with one of the world’s most intense peppers—the Scorpion. You must be a Chipotle Rewards member to participate in the Boorito Halloween tradition. Use promo code “BOORITO” when ordering digitally on October 31 from 3 p.m. local time until closing to enjoy a $6 entrée. The offer is exclusively available for digital orders on the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com, limit one per transaction.
Step aside zombies and vampires, the Sour Patch Kids brand is launching a hauntingly fun online experience, “Cringe or Candy,” which encourages fans to dig up their horrifying photos for a chance to win spooktacular prizes – with a grand prize of $5,000 including Sour Patch Kids Halloween candy. Fans can participate in a digital photo challenge by uploading their personal cringe pictures online and playing the odds for a sweet reward from Oct. 17 – 31. With a click of a button, fans will immediately learn their fate – a sour trick of potentially having their cringey photo shared in the Cringe or Candy online photo gallery or a sweet reward of free Sour Patch Kids candy. Visit the brand’s official website to enter and for the Official rules.
As Americans prepare for Halloween this year, American Humane reminds pet owners to think about their four-legged friends. “A little bit of planning will go a long way this Halloween,” says Dr. Thomas Edling, the Chief Veterinary Officer of American Humane. “By choosing costumes that don’t interfere with your pet’s breathing, walking, vision and hearing, your furry friend can safely join in on the fun. When trick-or-treaters come to the door, keep your guard up so pets don’t escape, and also make sure they have a quiet, secure space that’s away from visitors and parties. And as children bring home their sweet stash, remember to keep all candy away from animals—especially products with artificial sweetener. Halloween doesn’t need to be tricky this year. By taking just a few precautions, the festivities can be a treat for all members of the family.”
NEW This Week for Hauntathon 2023
- Fear Factory 2023 in Salt Lake City, UT
- Woods of Terror in Greensboro, NC
- Halloween in Japan
- Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail in Plant City, FL
- Scarehouse at Pittsburgh Mills Mall in Pennsylvania
- DARK at Fort Edmonton in Edmonton Canada
- Hush Haunted Attraction – Midland, Michigan
- Terror Isle Haunted Attraction in Texas City, Texas [4K] POV Walkthrough
BEHIND THE SCENES
- Sir Henry’s Legacy: A 10-Year Retrospective (Nov 4; Plant City, FL)
Upcoming Events: October - December 2023
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Get off the couch and join us for two exclusive haunted attraction experiences. Mingle with the creators, explore with the lights on, and then get a VIP seat when the lights go out. These ultimate fan opportunities are available nowhere else and offer unparalleled access to these select haunted experiences.
November 4th: Sir Henry’s Legacy: A 10-Year Retrospective (Plant City, FL)
Podcast Episodes You Might be Interested In
Fear Factory 2023 in Salt Lake City, UT
Now in its thirteenth season, Fear Factory in Salt Lake City has added a new storyline throughout their haunt – plus a new mocktail lounge. Spencer Terry explains what fear factory has planned for 2023.
Woods of Terror in Greensboro, NC
Woods of Terror is celebrating its 32nd year, and we went on-site to hear about the journey from founder Eddie McLauren.
Halloween in Japan
Scott and Philip discuss Halloween at Universal Studios Japan.
Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail in Plant City, FL
Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail expanded in 2023 with a new haunted hayride. Owner Zach Glaros explains how he continues to grow the event into a full scream Park.
Scarehouse at Pittsburgh Mills Mall in Pennsylvania
Scott Simmons explains how Scarehouse has transitioned to a new location during the pandemic.
DARK at Fort Edmonton in Edmonton Canada
DARK at Fort Edmonton Park in Edmonton Canada is celebrating its 6th season by adding a new haunt and expanding it’s event footprint. We hear from Teresa Ryan about the event’s evolution.
News Roundup: Haunted Little Tokyo; Treat Map
Read more here.