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Snacks Retail Expertise

Unmasking How Consumers Feel About 2023 Halloween

This year, consumers are extra excited about Halloween and plan to celebrate in several ways.
Martin Moore
Senior Manager, Human Insights

Key Takeaways:

    • Halloween will be big this year, and consumers have been excited since mid-summer.
    • Across the country, people are planning to participate in traditional festivities (like trick-or-treating) as well as at-home activities, like watching themed movies and baking treats.
    • Halloween isn’t just about sweets. Consumers are planning to add salty snacks to their spooky celebrations.

October 2, 2023

It's officially Fall and Halloween is fast approaching. But at Hershey, we’ve been excited for Halloween since, well, November 1 of last year. It’s our biggest season, and we are continuously checking in with consumers to understand how they plan to celebrate. 

Good news - our Human Insights team reports excitement is lurking around all kinds of Halloween activities this year. 

74% of consumers plan to participate in Halloween this year. That’s just as many as last year as families continue to return to pre-pandemic traditions.

74% of consumers plan to participate in Halloween this year.

While there’s a big buzz this year around costumes, carving pumpkins, decorating homes, throwing parties, handing out candy and trick-or-treating, our research also indicates that some of the pandemic-era traditions that arose may also be here to stay. Many families are planning to bake Halloween-themed treats and watch movies (with those big bowls of popcorn and candy on hand), embracing the quieter side of the holiday at home. That’s because Halloween is no longer a one-night affair. It’s something that people celebrate all month long, in any number of ways.

Despite macroeconomic factors like inflation, candy spending is expected to be strong. While 19% of consumers say they'll try to spend less on candy this year, that’s countered by 25% who say they’ll spend more. 22% of consumers also say they plan to save money by purchasing in bulk and 21% say they'll wait to make a purchase until there is a sale. 

Our research also shows that people plan to buy candy a little later this season than in the past few years – 42% plan to first buy candy in early October. 20% plan to wait until the middle of the month, partly due to less concern that candy will be out of stock. 79% also plan to buy salty snacks and research shows salty snack purchases are incremental for retailers with 96% buying salty snacks in addition to candy.

79% also plan to buy salty snacks.

In addition to our most beloved Halloween treats like Reese’s, Hershey's, KIT KAT®  and salty Halloween-themed snacks like SkinnyPop Popcorn, we have new tricks up our sleeve including Reese's Skeletons and Halloween candy mixed bag assortments featuring Haribo Gummies for the first time. 

Maybe what I’m most excited about with this Halloween is that it feels, well, normal. We’ve all been through the wringer the last few years (remember those brilliant and creative DIY candy chutes early in the pandemic?), and we’ve come out knowing ourselves better. Along the way, we’ve learned that the Halloween spirit lives inside each and every one of us, and it’s as resilient as we allow it to be.

And at Hershey, we’ve also learned this: never pass up a chance to celebrate.

Source: July Pulse Survey, Hershey; September Pulse Survey, Hershey