All Commentary
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 Leer en Español

7 Facts That Reveal the Economic Miracle of Halloween

As we celebrate Halloween, let’s not forget how this miracle occurs.

There are many reasons to love Halloween. Sure, there are more rules today than ever before. But there’s a reason this holiday, whose roots go back to the Middle Ages, has become one of the most celebrated events in American culture.

Halloween offers an opportunity to break bad, celebrate individuality, and express ourselves creatively. So in that spirit, here are seven economic facts about Halloween to prepare you for trick-or-treating.

  1. An estimated $575.26 million total will be spent on Halloween pumpkins alone in 2018, according to Finder, at an average price of $3.89 per pumpkin. That will exhaust about 80 percent of the US pumpkin supply.
  2. An estimated 95 percent of Americans plan on buying candy during the Halloween season, spending a total of $2.6 billion. 
  3. Americans are projected to spend some $9 billion total on Halloween in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s a couple billion dollars more than was spent on federal elections in 2016.
  4. Americans will spend, on average, a record $87 per person on Halloween in 2018, according to The Balance. (Meanwhile, more than half of Americans don’t have enough money in savings to cover the cost of a $500 emergency.)
  5. A single business produces nearly half of all costumes worn during the Halloween season, Bloomberg News reports. The company? Rubies Costume Co., the world’s largest manufacturer and designer of costumes.
  6. The top five most popular candies during the Halloween season, according to, are: 5) Starburst; 4) Reese’s Cups; 3) Snickers; 2) M&Ms; 1) Skittles. These five candy brands will sell 55,000 tons of candy (11 million pounds) during the Halloween season, according to The Daily Meal. Skittles alone will sell 3,487,101 pounds.
  7. Americans spend more money on costumes than any other Halloween expenditure ($3.2 billion). The most popular costumes in 2018? Adults: witch, vampire, zombie, pirate, and Avengers characters. Kids: A princess, random superhero, Batman, random Star Wars character, and witch.

As we celebrate Halloween, let’s not forget how this miracle occurs. There is no central committee directing companies to make tons of candy for tens of millions of people. There are no lawmakers setting the “proper” price for costumes and treats. There are no planners dictating what types of candy are made or how many tons of which candy get shipped where.

It is a system built purely on free exchange with an invisible hand directing resources to their most efficient points. The efficiency of Halloween is something a central committee could never achieve.

The inexpensive treats and costumes we take for granted are the fruits of an economic system that allows specialization, trade, and prices to operate freely. This encourages innovation, investment, and creativity…

…and it helps explain why we no longer have to wear frightening costumes like those featured in the video below. Happy Halloween!

  • The Foundation for Economic Education, founded 1946, works for a free and prosperous world.