Trick-or-Treating Drops, But Not Candy Sales

Sept. 25, 2020
Trick-or-treating and other forms of socializing may be down, but Halloween candy is still hot.

Trick-or-treating and other forms of socializing may be down, but Halloween candy is still hot.

Sales of Halloween chocolate and candy are up 13% for the four weeks ending Sept. 6 compared with last year, according to IRI. The surge is expected to continue, even though traditional Halloween celebrations are being curtailed due to the pandemic.

In a survey by the National Retail Federation, only 23% of respondents plan to do door-to-door trick-or-treating this year, compared with 29% last year. Plans to visit a haunted house dropped from 22% to 15%, and to throw or attend a party, from 32% to 22%.

These pullbacks aren’t slowing down candy sales in part because many consumers buy Halloween candy for themselves. Michele Buck, CEO of the Hershey Co., told investors this summer that almost half of all Hershey’s Halloween candy is consumed by purchasers.

Some consumers are combining a pandemic-safe form of celebrating with at-home consumption of candy, such as candy scavenger hunts or socially distanced costume parades, a spokesman for the National Confectioners Association told CNBC.

The pandemic is making Just Born Quality Confections put Halloween versions of its candy on hold, but other candy makers are forging ahead. Mars is bringing back Skittles Zombies and M&M Ghoul Mix, and Hershey has Vampire Kisses, Reese’s Franken-Cups and other Halloween-themed products.

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