The True Cost of Trick-or-Treating

October 23, 2012
By Nivene Judeh

Plus, How to Make Money This Halloween Season

Halloween is a fun time of year, especially if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Eleven percent of the nation’s annual candy sales are made during this spooky season. (That’s roughly $2 billion in sweets!) This year, Americans will spend $6.86 billion on Halloween candy, costumes, cards and decorations. It sounds like a hefty bill. Have you ever wondered how much it really costs to trick-or-treat?

Let’s break it down: Approximately 38 million trick-or-treaters will roam America’s neighborhoods this year, collecting candy from nearly 59 million households. That means for every one trick-or-treater, there will be about 1.5 homes distributing treats. Sounds like good odds, right?

Now, the average adult spends $21.05 on Halloween candy. So, if all the purchased candy were distributed equally among all trick-or-treaters (which it actually isn’t, since 41 percent of adults eat candy from their own bowls), every child would come home with a bag of candy worth $31.58. That’s a $10.53 profit for every trick-or-treater!

So, if your household is sending out at least one trick-or-treater, by the end of the night you may have earned back your initial candy investment and then some.

But hang on. We can’t ignore the other big cost of trick-or-treating — costumes. The average adult spends $26.52 on Halloween costumes, which is more than double the potential profit a household could make on candy. You’d need to have at least three trick-or-treaters collecting sweets in order to come out in the black on October 31. A family of four, two parents and two children, will be at least $5.46 in the hole, even when considering their kids’ “candy income.”

However, by hand-making costumes instead of buying them, a household could save that extra money and still come out on top.

But what about families who transform their homes into haunted houses and mail out spooky greeting cards? What about households that don’t send out any trick-or-treaters at all?

All right, so maybe the holidays aren’t the time to think about making profits. But you can still have fun without breaking the bank. When all is said and done, the average person spends about $72.32 every Halloween:

So if you’re looking to save some money this harvest season, get a little creative. Sew your own costumes, craft your own greeting cards or buy reusable decorations. You can cut back on spending without cutting back on the fun.

Want to learn more fun facts about Halloween costs? Check out our infographic.

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