The Scary Truth About Halloween (Infographic)
By JESS BARRON and ADAM PIOTROWSKI
Each year more than 41 million kids hit the streets and sidewalks around their neighborhood and go trick-or-treating. Most of those kids have one thing on their mind: CANDY. And they'll find plenty of it. More chocolates and sweets are sold during the week of Halloween than in any other week of the year. We ran the numbers to find out just how many guilty goodies Americans consume during the haunted holiday, and learned these surprising facts:
Halloween Candy Statistics and Data
Americans consume more than 7 billion pounds of candy per year. That's enough to fill 60 USS Iowa battleships full of sugary sweets. About half of that candy - 3.5 billion pounds – is chocolate. In total, the average American consumes about 25 pounds of candy per year. Not surprisingly, a large amount of that candy consumption happens during Halloween. It's the number one holiday for candy sales. The top holidays for candy sales are:
4. Valentine's Day
The week of Halloween alone, Americans buy 90 million pounds of chocolate. That's enough Hershey bars to wrap around the world nearly 3.25 times! Chocolate is the Halloween treat a majority of households hand out, with M&Ms, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers bars leading the way. One survey asked adults what they'd be handing out for Halloween and the answers were as follows:
- Chocolate (52%)
- Hard candy & lollipops (30%)
- Chewy candy (19%)
- Gum (16%)
Wondering which tasty treats are the most dangerous for your health? Check out our video of the 10 Most Dangerous Halloween Candies and the slideshow to see even more.
Halloween Spending (per U.S. consumer)
But candy and treats are just some of the things people spend money on during this spooky fall spectacle. Costumes, decorations, pumpkins – there's a lot to buy, and Americans are willing to pay. Halloween spending trends (per U.S. consumer):
- 2005: $48.48
- 2006: $59.06
- 2007: $64.82
- 2008: $66.54
- 2009: $56.31
- 2010: $66.28
- 2011: $72.31
- 2012: $79.82
- 2013: $75.03
- 2014: $77.52
That's enough to get you a seat behind home plate at a Baltimore Orioles game and leave you with enough money left over to get a hot dog and a drink. Add it all up, and in 2012, U.S. Consumers are expected to spend over $8 billion on Halloween (a 17.5% increase from last year).
Some Facts About Pumpkins
In total, U.S. Agriculture produced 1.4 billion pounds of pumpkins in 2012. Illinois was the top producing state, which alone accounted for 427 million pounds of those pumpkins - enough to fill 9,705 semi trucks full of jack-o-lanterns-to-be. Lined up end-to-end, those trucks would cover 119 miles – enough to stretch across all of Vermont and nearly half of New Hampshire. Other leading pumpkin-producers are California, New York and Ohio, who each contribute more than 100 million pounds to our national pumpkin patch. The largest pumpkin of all was grown in Rhode Island. It sprouted this year, and weighed a whopping 2,009 pounds!
Health benefits of Trick-or-Treating
But Halloween isn't all about eating, kids go walking that night, too. If an average 14-year-old boy walks about five miles during two hours of trick-or-treating, he would burn 446 calories.
That's the good news. The bad? That equals about five and a half fun size candy bars - so only a little indulging will undo all of that exercise.
But hey, it's not all bad. After all, one could argue that Americans should eat MORE chocolate if you compare U.S. chocolate intake with the Swiss. The average American eats 10-12 pounds of chocolate per year. In Switzerland, meanwhile, the average person eats 21 pounds per year.
However, while the U.S. eats less chocolate, U.S. obesity rates are around 35.7 percent while the obesity rates in Switzerland is substantially lower at 8.1 percent. Yes, we know that doesn't mean that you should go out and eat chocolate and you’ll lose weight. There are plenty of other factors affecting these rates, but it does present an example that giving into a sweet side doesn't necessarily mean you have to throw your health out the door.
In fact, chocolate has been linked to numerous health benefits - studies have tied dark chocolate to lower rates of heart disease, less stress, and faster weight loss (the filling nature of rich, dark chocolate can cut cravings.)
–Jess and Adam
Readers - What’s your favorite type of Halloween candy or food? Are you a fan of pumpkin cookies and pumpkin spice lattes? Or do you love candy corn and snack-size candy bars? Leave a comment below, and let us know.
Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief of LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of Farmer's Market food, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. In the summer of 2012 Jess lost 20 pounds in a test group for a new fitness program. Some of her favorite workout routines include walking, running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY, and mixed martial arts. Jess's writing can also be found at Poprocks.com. She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio and her writing has appeared on Wired.com and Yahoo!
1. U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb11-ff20.html
2. NCA (National Confectioners Association): http://candyusa.com/
4. National Retail Foundation: http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1197
4. The Story of Chocolate: http://www.thestoryofchocolate.com/
5. US Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb11-ff20.html
7. NielsenWire http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/u-s-consumers-say-boo-to-store-brand-candy-on-halloween/
8. Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/the-largest-pumpkin-world-record_n_1939922.html