Everything You Need to Know About Trick-or-Treating and Halloween Candy (And Then Some)

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Which candies do trick-or-treaters crave the most? How old is too old for trick-or-treating? Just how common is it for parents to stealthily munch their kids’ Halloween candy when no one’s looking?

Statistics gathered in recent surveys and retailer studies reveal all:

$44 Worth of Candy?
According to Bundle, American consumers collectively buy 600 million tons of candy for Halloween, for a total of $1.9 billion—an average of $44 per household. A National Retail Federation survey indicates that overall Halloween spending is up significantly this year, with the average American spending $79.83 on the holiday, compared with $72.31 in 2011. Even so, of the 26% of consumers who say the troubled economy will impact their Halloween spending this year, more than one-third (36.1%) say they’ll buy less candy.

Most-Liked Candy
If you’re trying to make trick-or-treaters happiest, you can’t go wrong by handing out Skittles, Starburst, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Kit Kats, and Twix. They’re the top five most-liked candy brands on Facebook. Candy corn, Gummy Bears, Snickers, and M&Ms are good too—they’re among the most popular candies searched on Google.

(MORE: Millions on Pet Costumes? Why We Spend More and More on Pets)

What’s More Important Than Candy
In one survey of adults, the most important factor for determining a good neighborhood for Halloween was safety, selected by 95% of those surveyed, followed by good neighbors (92%). Just under three-quarters (73%) of adults said that quality of the candy handed out was “important” or “very important.”

Why Halloween Is Kids’ Favorite Holiday
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of American children named Halloween as their favorite holiday of the year. And what’s their favorite thing about their favorite holiday? It’s trick-or-treating, chosen by 75% of kids, followed by “wearing a costume” (71%), and “getting lots of candy” (66%).

What Even Kids Know About Candy
In the same survey—conducted on the behalf of the American Dental Association—two-thirds of kids admitted that they eat too much candy around Halloween. While 82% of girls agreed that “too much candy is bad for me,” just 74% of boys acknowledged the same.

Guess Who Is Stealing Kids’ Candy?
In one survey, 90% of parents owned up the fact that they sneak goodies from their kids’ trick-or-treating hauls.

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When Kids Should Stop Trick-or-Treating
Despite the trend for Halloween to be a holiday for adults, the consensus seems to be that by around the age of 13, you’re too old for trick-or-treating.

Why the Bay Area Is Best for Trick-or-Treating
San Francisco‘s famous hills are likely to exhaust kids on their trick-or-treating rounds. Nonetheless, the city was named by Zillow as tops for trick-or-treating in the nation, based on population density, median home value, “Walk Score,” and other factors.

What’s Way More Dangerous Than Tainted Candy
The risk of your child being hurt from candy that’s poisoned or laced with razor blades is a myth, reports the Associated Press:

“There isn’t any case of a child killed or injured from a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick or treating,” according to Joel Best, a professor at the University of Delaware who has extensively researched the subject.

It appears as if kids are at a slightly above-average risk for being hit by a car on Halloween, however. In recent years, there have been more deaths of pedestrians under age 21 reported on October 31 than there were on the day before or after. Even so, the death totals are very small nationwide.

(MORE: More Trick Than Treat: Halloween Spending on the Rise)

Cashing in by Trick-or-Treating
While most kids focus on trick-or-treating just in terms of candy, the more entrepreneurial types out there should know there’s a quick and easy way to turn their hauls into cash. As the name indicates, the Halloween Candy Buyback program buys candy back from trick-or-treaters, with participating local dental practices around the country doing the actual purchasing. One dental practice in New Jersey, for instance, plans on paying $1 per pound of candy that kids bring in on the days after Halloween. The candy collections are used in Operation Gratitude care packages sent to U.S. troops. In addition to thanking the military, the goal of the program is to get some of that excessive candy away from American kids, whose teeth and waistlines surely don’t need more sugar. Troops can get cavities too, of course, which is why the program is also asking for donations of toothbrushes and toothpaste.