New Research Shows American Moms Plan Make This Halloween One to Remember

2020 could stack up to be the biggest Halloween year in recent history, despite concerns with social distancing. Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, so families don’t have to worry about celebrations keeping kids up on a school night.  Other reasons include constant spending expectations, new choices like trunk or treating in addition to trick or treating, and the continued desire for costumes and decorating.

Halloween Trends 2020: Even With Social Distancing, Will This Be the Biggest Year Ever?

Costumes, Candy and Spending…Expectations Are Full Steam Ahead

Given concerns with social distancing and the risk of spreading disease, retailers are actively considering adjustments to their selections for kid and adult Halloween costumes, Halloween decorations and even toys.  While it might seem early to think about this, leading retailers like Walmart, Target and Costco start planning Halloween orders more than a year in advance of the holiday, and make commitments in January and February (nine months in advance).  In stores, Halloween merchandise begins appearing in June and July,  (two to four months in advance). Tara Hefter, General Manager for the world’s leading costume company Disguise, adds:

“While it’s early to say, we remain optimistic about parents and children coming up with creative ways to celebrate Halloween this year, particularly with Halloween falling on a Saturday.”

In a recent nationally-representative survey, 70% of moms report they expect to celebrate Halloween 2020 with their children.  A full 35% of moms anticipate buying costumes for their children. And 33% expect to purchase costumes for themselves or other adults in the household this Halloween. This compares favorably with the number of moms who plan to purchase candy as a gift for their children (38%).   By comparison, only 13% of moms expect to make a Halloween costume for their child or for themselves.

Halloween Trends 2020: Even With Social Distancing, Will This Be the Biggest Year Ever?

In terms of spending, these consumers overwhelmingly expect Halloween spending for 2020 to be the same as last year (60% expect to spend the same). The average expected consumer spending is $89, comparable to the National Retail Foundation (NRF) 2019 expected average of $86.

Halloween Trends 2020: Even With Social Distancing, Will This Be the Biggest Year Ever?
Halloween Trends 2020: Even With Social Distancing, Will This Be the Biggest Year Ever?

Trick or Treating, Trunk or Treating, and Haunted Houses

Trunk or treating has been on the rise, driven by safety.  And 22% of moms expect to trunk or treat with other parents they know personally.  As reported by Roslyn Costanzo:

“Move over trick or treat, there’s a new gig in town and it’s called trunk or treat. Originally started by church groups with the aim of providing a safer environment for trick-or-treaters on Halloween, trunk or treat involves a community coming together in a parking lot, either on the 31st or shortly before, so that children can trick-or-treat out of the decorated trunks of their cars.”

Meanwhile 46% still expect to go trick or treating with child(ren) at houses in their neighborhoods. 15% expect to visit a haunted house, and 16% expect to host a Halloween party.   

Halloween Trends 2020: Even With Social Distancing, Will This Be the Biggest Year Ever?

Virtual Options Underdeveloped Despite Social Media’s Influence

Despite the influence of social media on costume choices, we found virtual options to be underdeveloped. Only 7% of moms expect to be in a virtual costume parade and 7% expect to visit a virtual Haunted House.  Given the popularity of Zoom family meals and innovation around virtual Easter egg hunts, these numbers may rise if innovative options are created.

Halloween Trends 2020: Even With Social Distancing, Will This Be the Biggest Year Ever?

Decorating the Home in Addition to the Person

Decorating for Halloween is also popular, with 37% of moms expecting to decorate outside their home, while 35% plan to decorate the inside.  Trunk or treating creates a need to decorate the car or truck.  To support their decorating, 28% of moms expect to purchase decorations for inside the home, and 24% expect to purchase for the outside. Nationally, Halloween décor collections are growing steadily.