About 30% of people say the recession is affecting how much they spend on Halloween this year. Nearly half of those affected say they’re buying less candy. Millions of children are planning a mass protest this Saturday, when they intend to roam the streets, bang on doors, and demand chocolate (no stinking pennies!) while dressed as adorable witches and vampires.
Less candy? Is nothing sacred? I guess the day for ghouls and devils is supposed to be the opposite of sacred. Oh yes, there’s also the bit about the obesity epidemic, and that there’s way too much soda and candy already being circulated among kids who never venture far from the computer or TV.
Anyway, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation says that roughly one-third of people are spending less on Halloween this year—an average of $56.31 per person, down from $66.54 last year. Here’s how they’ll be scaling back:
Of those who will be affected, the largest majority (88.0%) plan to spend less overall. Others say they will buy less candy (46.5%), use last year’s decorations without buying new ones (35.4%), make costumes instead of purchasing them (16.8%), re-use last year’s costumes (15.8%), and not participate in as many Halloween activities such as haunted houses or fall festivals (26.4%).
It’s odd how people can use the same data in different ways. This story in the Chicago Tribune, which references the same survey, says that kids need not worry about getting their candy fix this year:
Still, there’s one expense Halloweeners consider too hallowed to cut: Candy purchases buck the trend.
The retail federation survey shows 93.7 percent of respondents plan to buy candy this Halloween — nearly 600 million pounds of it, according to the Nielsen Co. Nielsen said that while consumers traditionally wait until the last minute to get a better deal, they still choose name brand candy over store brand candy 95 percent of the time.
Ah yes, no trick-or-treaters want to get snookered with some knock-off candy (with a name like Snookers). So perhaps something is sacred in America: We stick with the brands we know.
Meanwhile, a news service in Canada uses some of the same survey data in a story, but adds a service-oriented twist. Apparently, academics can study just about anything. A university up north even looked into what candies offer the most variation—and therefore chances of a higher payoff with more treats—from package to package. From the story:
Fortunately, a new Canadian university investigation finds trick-or-treaters can still yield high returns if they fish the “right” treats out of neighbours’ candy dishes.
“When we look at bang-for-buck, which is where risk and return comes in, Nestle’s two products — Gobstoppers (Chewy) and Smarties — were the ones that had the most overfill, on average, but they also had some of the highest variation from package to package,” says Michael J. Armstrong, an associate professor at Brock University. He notes that Gobstoppers in particular saw individual packages vary from 20 per cent over their labelled weight, to eight per cent under.
“If what you’re concerned about is getting at least your money’s worth every time — maybe you’re a mother (who) needs to divide the candy amongst four children — you want to go with M&Ms or Mike and Ikes, which were very consistent in . . . total numbers. Mike and Ikes, in fact, were about 10 times more consistent than Gobstoppers.”
It’s never too early to start teaching your kids how to get the most bang for the buck—especially on a day when everything they get is free.