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Happy Halloween!

Updated: Apr 23

Happy Halloween

As an adult, Halloween might not be a big deal for you. But last year’s $9 billion in spending sure solidifies the holiday as big business. This year, Americans are expected to spend $2.6 billion on candy and 73 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds plan on dressing up. A whopping 172 million Americans celebrate the holiday. Holy ghost-shaped peeps!

Unsurprisingly, the biggest single expense for most households during the spookiest time of the year is costumes. From children to adults to dogs, the average consumer plans to spend about $31 per person. But even if you aren’t headed to a costume store near you, chances are that a bag or two of fun-size candy and chocolates are on your shopping list for your neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

And we can admit that some of those goodies will never make it into a child’s hands because sampling is your job as a responsible adult, right? Call it “freshness testing.”

To celebrate this fun once-a-year expense, let’s look at costumes and candy through the ages. (There will be no financial tips in this article. Just Halloween fun.)

A Scary Good Time… with Make-up

Break out the green face paint, fake warts, and black wig! From scary to sweet, costume trends run the gamut.

While timeless classics like zombies, witches, and vampires are always a hit, what’s happening in the world has a heavy influence on costumes. If you can’t remember what movies came out when or what was happening in the world, check out the costumes of the year.

For instance, in 2007 it was the height of Halloween cool to be green like Shrek, become a Rum-swilling pirate like Jack Sparrow, or screaming “This is Sparta” with heavily padded chest piece featuring inhuman abs. (Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and 300.) And last year the video game, Fortnite, influenced costume trends, as well as Spider-Man.

  • 1920s: Clowns

  • 1930s: Mickey and Minnie Mouse

  • 1940s: Witches

  • 1950s: Hawaiian Dress

  • 1960s: Superheroes

  • 1970s: Peanuts Characters

  • 1980s: Elvira and Hulk Hogan

  • 1990s: Power Rangers

  • 2000s: Celebrities

  • 2010s: Frozen Characters

"IT" By Chris Hunkeler from Carlsbad, California, USA - Pennywise, CC BY-SA 2.0

This year, Google is predicting (based on search trends) the top ten most popular Halloween costumes as:

  1. It

  2. Witch

  3. Spider-Man

  4. Dinosaurs

  5. Descendants

  6. Clown

  7. Fortnite

  8. Chucky

  9. 1980s

  10. Unicorn

Do you eat more Halloween candy than they hand out? Or maybe you like to raid your child or grandchild’s stash for your Halloween favorites? Yup. We see the guilt. But let’s face it, part of the draw of Halloween is the candy.

Do you remember trick-or-treating with your pillow case, or the plastic pumpkin from McDonalds? The excitement of finding that house that gave out full-sized candy bars in your favorite variety? Or the groan of getting that sweet that repulsed you (Mary Jane’s anyone?).

And there certainly are a lot of choices as far as Halloween candy. Let’s look at the most popular candy through the ages!

  • 1920s: Baby Ruth

  • 1930s: 3 Musketeers

  • 1940s: M&M’s

  • 1950s: Atomic Fireballs

  • 1960s: SweeTarts

  • 1970s: Laffy Taffy

  • 1980s: Sour Patch Kids

  • 1990s: AirHeads

  • 2000s: Nerds Ropes

  • 2010s: Skittles

Tastes sure do change! This Halloween’s ten best and worst of the candy pickings are:.

The Best

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

  2. Snickers

  3. Twix

  4. Kit Kat

  5. M&M’s

  6. Nerds

  7. Butterfinger

  8. Sour Patch Kids

  9. Skittles

  10. Hershey’s Bar

The Worst

  1. Candy Corn

  2. Circus Peanuts

  3. Peanut Butter Kisses

  4. Wax Cola Bottles

  5. Necco Wafers

  6. Tootsie Rolls

  7. Smarties

  8. Black Licorice

  9. Good & Plenty

  10. Bit-O-Honey

But unsurprisingly, what’s hot in one state isn’t in another. For instance, in Indiana the top three Halloween candies are: Hot Tamales, Starburst, and Jolly Ranchers—none of the top ten.

We wish you a safe and fun Halloween. (And if you don’t want your candy corn, I’ll take it!)

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