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SPOILER ALERT! Halloween is NOT second only to Christmas in retail spending

by Leonard Pickel, Hauntrepreneurs.com

Several years ago, I saw an article that stated Halloween was the “second largest US Holiday. Second only to Christmas.” Very excited, I shared this news through Haunted Attraction Magazine, which I owned at the time). Then I looked up the numbers to see how close we were to Christmas and if our growth was overtaking the December holiday. I was surprised to find out that not only is Halloween retail spending miniscule compared to Christmas ($9.1 billion Halloween 2017 – $680 billion Christmas 2017) but that Halloween spending is actually less than Father’s Day.

2017 Top Ten Consumer Spending Events

55.27 Million People Attended Haunts in 2017 – 800 Million To 1 Billion Dollars in Ticket Sales

Now mind you, these are numbers from the National Retail Federation, and I don’t think the $9.1 billion includes Haunted House attendance, but that only bumps the numbers up by about $1 billion or less. Still a long way from the Christmas sales juggernaut. 

The confusion may have came from an old article that was discussing holiday decorating. Halloween IS second only to Christmas in holiday decoration sales. Beating out Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and even Easter.

It’s not all bad news though. Halloween spending is going up each year, and the number of people who attend haunted houses is growing by about 8% a year. Higher production value and smarter marketing are driving higher ticket prices for US haunts, and Halloween Haunts are catching on around the world.  As an industry, Haunting is strong and getting stronger every year. In fact, bad weather or a market’s Baseball team making to the World Series are the only reasons for regional downturns. 

The future of haunting looks very strong. Maybe only being second to Father’s Day in retail sales is not too shabby.





Leonard Pickel is owner of Hauntrepreneurs Themed Attraction Design and Consulting. He can be reached at hauntrepreneurs@gmail.com or check out the www.hauntrepreneurs.com website.