SOURCE: Horizon Media

October 31, 2014 15:10 ET

Horizon Media Survey Finds Halloween Is About Sweet Indulgence and Relaxation Over Playing Dress-Up

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - October 31, 2014) - According to Horizon Media's latest Finger on the Pulse® Survey, sweet will triumph over spooky this Halloween. Survey results show that this year, Halloween is the candy holiday, rather than the costume holiday; candy is the most popular purchase during Halloween, with 59% of consumers using the day as an excuse to buy something sweet.

Surprisingly, purchasing Halloween costumes is not high on the list for most people -- only 15% plan to purchase a costume for a child, 9% plan to purchase a costume for themselves, and 6% plan to purchase a costume for their significant other. Almost three in 10 people (29%) say they won't celebrate Halloween in any way.

As its candy -- not costumes -- that will drive purchases this year, shopping in mass retail stores like Target or Walmart will be the most popular destination for all Halloween (27%). The 18-49 crowd drives the choice of these shopping venues (36% vs. 20% of those 50+). Those who tend to spend $50 or more on the holiday favor mass retail stores as well (39% vs. 26% who will spend $20-49 and 19% who will spend under $20), but 2 in 10 (19%) will be more resourceful and use what they have at home. Halloween themed stores come in third, with 18%, followed by party stores (17%) and online purchases (15%).

"The emphasis on candy spending is a bit surprising," said Kirk Olson, VP of TrendSights at Horizon Media. "With hit shows like Gotham, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Bates Motel making fun and fear de rigeur, you might expect more dressing up. But this research suggests that Halloween is about sweet indulgence and relaxation above all else. As the holiday nears, that means brands may get further ahead by emphasizing celebration and being social in media and messaging. Social media would be a great place to start."

Regardless of if they're buying candy, costumes, or decorations, the majority of respondents (73%) claim to keep their total Halloween budget under $50. Survey respondents aged 18-49 are more likely to spend more (39% will spend $50 or more vs. 18% of 50+), and two thirds of consumers (67%) plan to keep their spending in line with last year. 27% of respondents say they'll spend less this year, with women leading that segment. Women are more worried about keeping budgets lower this year (31% will spend less than last year vs. 20% of males), and only 6% plan to spend more than they did last year.

The Finger on the Pulse® Survey is Horizon's proprietary online research community, comprised of 3,000 people reflective of the general U.S. population. The community empowers the agency to connect directly with consumers, diving beneath the surface of beliefs and behaviors to uncover critical insights.

About Horizon Media
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world's ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry's leading trade association.

The company's mission is "To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere." By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $4.7 billion and over 1000 employees.

The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit

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