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Scary Economy Hits Halloween: Survey Finds Half of Families Plan to Reduce Spending on Costumes/Treats

Also Finds Two-Thirds of Parents Check Kids’ Candy for Tampering, Half Steal Candy from Kids, One in Seven Has Seen a Ghost

HalloweenWashington, D.C. – The scariest thing many parents will see this Halloween may be their bank balance, found a new LivingSocial Families survey. The survey, conducted online among more than 4,000 American families with children by Mandala Research, found that more than half of families plan to reduce their Halloween spending this year due to the economy. Among the findings:

More than half of families surveyed (53%) plan to reduce their Halloween spending this year due to the economy. One in three families (35%) plans to spend less on costumes and decorations, 14% are giving out less candy, and 12% are making their families’ costumes this year, rather than buying them.

“Ghosts and goblins are nowhere near as scary as the financial situation that many families are facing this year,” said LivingSocial Families social trend expert Amy Wolf. “In these tough times, it’s hard for families to justify the high cost of costumes and decorations.  Our survey found that many parents are taking steps to conserve money by making their own costumes, cutting back on decorations, and looking for cost-conscious activities to do with their families.”

Among other findings of the survey:

Poisoning Paranoia?  

  • Almost two-thirds of parents (65%) said they sometimes check their kids’ candy for tampering.

Ghost Trusters

  • One in seven respondents (15%) said they have seen a ghost before.

Pilfering Parents

  • Half of parents (50%) said they sometimes steal their kids’ Halloween candy.

Too Much Like Miley?

  • 42% of parents believe that young girls are dressing too sexy for Halloween.

Canines vs. Curmudgeons on Costumes

  • Nearly one in five families (17%) dress up their pets for the holiday.
  • 10% of respondents said they hate dressing up for Halloween.

A Different Kind of Scary

  • One in five parents (21%) said their city is not safe for trick or treating.

Grinches on Halloween?

  • Only 5% of respondents said they do not celebrate Halloween

Teenage Trickery Tells No Tales

  • One in four parents (27%) admitted to TPing someone’s house when they were younger.

Top Family Halloween Activities

  • Trick or Treating – 78% of families taking part
  • Pumpkin Carving – 71% of families
  • Decorating the House – 62% of families
  • Going to a Pumpkin Patch – 53% of families
  • Attending a Kids’ Halloween Party – 45% of families
  • Making Halloween Arts and Crafts – 39% of families
  • Making Halloween Treats for School – 36% of families
  • Visiting a Haunted House – 35% of families
  • Going to a Halloween Party for Adults – 29% of families

Top Ten Favorite Halloween Candies

  • Reese’s – 43% of respondents rank it among their top five favorites
  • Snickers – 38% rank among favorites
  • M&Ms – 37% rank among favorites
  • Kit Kat – 36% rank among favorites
  • Twix – 29% rank among favorites
  • Milky Way – 22% rank among favorites
  • Butterfinger – 22% rank among favorites
  • Candy Corn – 18% rank among favorites
  • 3 Musketeers – 18% rank among favorites
  • Skittles – 17% rank among favorites

The Five Best Cities for Trick-or-Treating (as ranked by residents)

  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • Dallas
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • Los Angeles

The Five Most Haunted Cities (by reported ghosts/ghost stories)

  • Boston
  • New York City
  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia

The Five Best Party Cities for Adults on Halloween

  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • New York City
  • Atlanta
  • Tampa/St. Petersburg

The Five Stingiest Cities for Candy

  • New York City
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Washington, DC
  • Atlanta

The Five Most Dangerous Cities for Trick or Treating

(self-reported by residents)

  • Miami
  • New York City
  • Atlanta
  • Houston
  • San Francisco

The LivingSocial Families Halloween survey is part of LivingSocial’s ongoing efforts to discover and share information about local social trends and behavior. LivingSocial Families offers deals to help families discover the best kid- and parent-approved experiences in their neighborhoods. 


The LivingSocial Families Halloween survey was conducted in October 2011 among 4,000 consumers in the top 20 media markets (DMAs) by Mandala Research, LLC. Respondents were consumers wi0th children under the age of 15 in the household and were not limited to LivingSocial members or users. The survey was conducted online.

About LivingSocial

LivingSocial helps people around the world find, share and enjoy great local deals and new experiences. We’ll help you get more out of your city. Through its daily deal e-mails and alerts, LivingSocial introduces members to handpicked local businesses, products or services each day at savings of 50 percent or more. With a range of products for different interests, like Families and Adventures, LivingSocial helps delight members with the perfect deal for them. Other services include LivingSocial Escapes, which features easy “vacations in a box” to leading destinations, and LivingSocial Instant, which helps members discover real-time discounts at nearby restaurants, stores and businesses. LivingSocial works with each merchant partner to create customized marketing solutions that attract and retain loyal, long-term customers. Based in Washington, D.C., LivingSocial now has more than 46 million members in 25 countries.


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