WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2016 – Happy Halloween from the National Confectioners Association, the trade organization representing the $35 billion U.S. confections industry.

And NCA has good reason to be happy. According to a survey conducted for NCA, Americans will spend about $2.7 billion this year on Halloween candy, supporting 55,000 jobs in the industry, and another 410,000 Americans employed in candy-supported industries like retail, transportation and agriculture.

And what’s the most popular treat? Chocolate by a long shot. According to the survey, chocolate in all its varieties is the star of Halloween, with just over two-thirds of respondents saying it is their favorite. Candy corn comes in second, at 10 percent, while chewy candy and gummy candy were in a dead heat with 7 percent.

The Census Bureau estimates that last year, most of the treats were doled out to 41.1 million trick-or-treaters ages 5 to 14. But the candy isn’t just for kids, the vast majority of parents (72 percent) also admit they share in their children’s candy stash, whether anyone knows it or not. Some parents (47 percent) say sharing candy is a house rule, while others (25 percent) claim they are more likely to take a treat when their children are not looking.

The Confectioners Association points out most parents are careful to stress moderation to their children. “A full 90 percent of survey respondents use Halloween to prioritize setting guidelines and talking to their children about moderation,” NCA says. “Four out of five have a plan in place to help, like having limits on the number of pieces of candy their kids can collect or enjoy per day.”

Candy makers aren’t the only industry to benefit. In 2012, sales data from The Kroger Co. in the U.S. and Tesco in the UK showed that about 19,000 tons of pumpkins were sold during the holiday season, with most of the U.S. pumpkins coming from patches in Illinois.

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Costume makers are also cashing in, with sales expected to reach $3.1 billion this year and the average spending per customer rising to around $84, according to the National Retail Association. That’s up from $55 per shopper in 2009.

And the in-costume for kids this year? The National Retail Association says it’s the superhero, with Batman and Supergirl costumes taking over from princess outfits, which ruled the costume world, at least for little girls, for the past 11 years.

For millennials, the most popular costumes are animals, witches, and Batman. Forbes magazine reports that the most searched-for costume terms on Google include Harley Quinn, Joker, Superhero and Pirate, with Wonder Woman, Batman, witch and Star Wars rounding out the top eight.


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