Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowe’en … whichever way you want to spell it, it has become one of our favourite celebrations. In the United States it is the second biggest holiday money-spinner after Christmas. But it is a peculiar witch’s brew of traditions from various parts of Europe … and there are many similar ghostly traditions elsewhere in the world.
So here are 21 commercial and fun facts to share with your customers, and help you turn it into an even bigger earner next year!
Facts about Halloween Spending & Traditions
- Spending on Halloween nearly doubled in the UK between 2013 (£230 million) and 2018 (£419 million).
- UK consumers spend more on sweets and chocolate for Halloween than on costumes and decorations combined.
- Only a fifth of UK consumers will buy a pumpkin for Halloween.
- In the United States, 175 million Americans will take part in Halloween activities and consumer spending on Halloween will be approximately $9 billion (source: National Retail Federation).
- Of this, $3.2 billion will be spent on costumes, $2.7 billion on decorations, $2.6 billion on candy, and $400 million on greeting cards.
- Of those who partake in Halloween, average outlay is $86.79.
- You can be fined up to $1000 for selling or using silly string in Hollywood, California due to its use for vandalism at Halloween.
- Americans will purchase more than 90 million pounds (approx. 44 million KG) of chocolate specifically for the Halloween season. The average kid’s haul of sweets and chocolate will amount to 11,000 calories.
- More traditional Halloween sweet fare includes barmbrack (Ireland), bonfire toffee (UK) and toffee apples (UK and Ireland). In olden times people in England and Wales made “soul cakes” in memory of the dead, but the tradition died out.
- Halloween is said to have started from the Celtic festival of Samhain in Ireland, marking the end of the harvest season and the start of winter. But there are similar traditions in many areas of the United Kingdom, such as “mumming” or “guising”, the origin of the practice of going from house to house in costumes.
- The name Halloween itself first appeared in the 16th century as a Scottish shortening of All-Hallow-Even, that is, the night before All Hallows’ Day …
- … more commonly known as All Saints’ Day or All Souls’ Day. It is a public holiday in many European countries including Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and five of the 16 German states. But not the UK or Ireland (boo!)
- The city of Derry is home to Ireland’s largest organised Halloween celebration on the island, in the form of a street carnival and fireworks display.
- Pumpkins originated in Mexico. Before pumpkins, Jack o’Lanterns were traditionally made from turnips.
- Trick or treating has its origins in an English tradition, “Mischief Night”, which variously took place between 30 October and 4 November (the day before Bonfire Night) according to region. Ringing doorbells and running off, and minor acts of vandalism, were part of the “fun”.
- Perhaps for this reason, a lot of Brits do not like Halloween! A 2006 survey revealed that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights and pretend not to be home on Halloween.
- On the Isle of Man Halloween is known as Hop-tu-Naa.
- In Mexico and most Latin American countries, Halloween is celebrated as “Dià de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead). However, until 2016 there was no Dià de los Muertos procession in Mexico City. Inspired by the opening scenes of the James Bond film, Spectre, city officials decided to inaugurate the event!
- Bobbing or ducking for apples was a traditional Halloween game in England. Players have to grab apples from a basin of water using only their teeth. If a girl puts her bobbed apple under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband. In parts of Ireland and Canada the game is called snap apple.
- Agatha Christie’s novel Halloween Party – featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot – is about a girl who is drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.
Had enough of Halloween facts? Then you may be suffering from samhainophobia. Seek help!