Americans Spend More on Candy for Easter Than Halloween

USPA Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship
A general view of atmosphere of Easter Egg Hunt at USPA Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship at International Polo Club Palm Beach on April 20, 2014 in Wellington, Florida.
Gustavo Caballero — Getty Images

It’s surprising but true: Americans shell out more cash for candy on Easter than they do on Halloween.

Adult American consumers who plan to celebrate Easter said they’d spend a combined $2.4 billion on candy, according to data from the National Retail Federation released Wednesday. In contrast, Halloween-goers were estimated to spend $2.1 billion, according to September statistics also from the NRF.

Each Halloweener, however, said they planned to spend on average $24.65 on sugary treats, about 86 cents more than how much each Easter-goers plan to spend.

The difference can partly be explained by the number of candy consumers on each holiday: About 170.1 million for Easter compared with 147.2 million for Halloween.

Easter is also a more widely celebrated holiday among Americans: 80% reportedly plan to celebrate the spring holiday, according to the NRF. 60% of Americans planned to celebrate Halloween. That means the country spends about 2.5 times more on Easter’s pastel decorations and flowers ($17.3 billion) than Halloween’s costumes, spider webs, and plastic skeletons ($6.9 billion).

“Easter is a traditional holiday that consumers of all ages and on all budget levels celebrate with family and friends,” said Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow in a statement. “Consumers have longs lists of items they need to get their spring off to a good start. Smart shoppers plan to compare prices, research the items on their lists and take advantage of promotions on things like apparel and candy.”


Here’s the other other thing. Most of that candy isn’t even being used at the event most associated with the confection on Easter: egg hunts.

Just over a third of Easter-goers who plan to buy candy also plan to host an easter egg hunt. In contrast, 72% of candy buyers plan to hand some out for trick-or-treaters on Halloween, based off of NRF’s statistics. That’s assuming there are about 245.3 million over 18 in America.

Where could the candy be going on Easter?

Well, that’s unclear—though according to a separate study by the National Confectioners Association in 2014, 83% of parents polled planned to buy or create an easter basket for their children filled with candy or chocolate.

Though its not all for the kids. 81% of parents also said they steal from their children’s stash. That’s from a survey of 1,300 adults in 2014.

Easter is also a generally larger retail holiday, with each adult American spending nearly 50% more on Easter than those celebrating Halloween. Easter-goers plan to spend about $146 per person this year, while people shelling out dough on Halloween were far tighter about their purse strings—spending $74.34.

NRF’s Easter survey was conducted between March 1 and 8 over 7,264 18-and-above consumers across the U.S. The firm’s Halloween survey was conducted between Sept. 1-8 over 6,754 consumers.

Generally, the dollar-amount of candy bought in either holiday fluctuates from year to year, with Halloween topping some years and Easter buying topping in others.

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