Kids talk about their Halloween costumes and what they love most about Halloween during Trick-or-Treat the Trails at White Deer Park Monday, October 31, 2016 in Garner, N.C. Jill Knight jhknight@newsobserver.com
Kids talk about their Halloween costumes and what they love most about Halloween during Trick-or-Treat the Trails at White Deer Park Monday, October 31, 2016 in Garner, N.C. Jill Knight jhknight@newsobserver.com

Durham County

M&Ms overtake Peanut Butter Cups on way to Halloween spending record

By Colin Warren-Hicks

cwarrenhicks@heraldsun.com

October 30, 2017 05:40 PM

UPDATED October 30, 2017 05:55 PM

Durham

In America, sugar sells en masse, particularly so come the close of October.

Chocolate, taffy, caramel, peanut butter chocolate, butterscotch, specialty licorice lollipops, good ol’ fashion Mary Janes – sweetmeats, for sure – lustrous, shimmering, crystallized glazes, gumdrops and Lemon Drops melting over the Skittles rainbow, all include sugary crystals.

But, how many licks does it take to consume $2.7 billion worth of candy?

That’s how much the National Retail Federation estimates Americans will spend on candy this Halloween season. In all, the federation predicts a new record for All Hallows’ Eve linked spending at $9.1 billion.

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The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics conducted a Sept. 5-13 survey asking 7,013 consumers about their purchasing plans.

Statisticians projected dollars spent in domestic shopping for the holiday would increase 8.3 percent from last year’s $8.4 billion in Halloween spending.

Celebrants are expected to spend an average $86.13, the federation said.

Only 12.9 percent of the foreseen merrymakers surveyed said their spending would be affected by worries over the economy, down from 32.1 percent in 2011.

Anthony Smith, the manager of the IT’Sugar Candy Store at the Streets at Southpoint in Durham, said his sales are good, but not as good as last year.

“Oh, I mean, sales are definitely up, right now, around Halloween, but not like last year” he said. “Last year, our sales doubled around Halloween.”

Smith attributes IT’Sugar’s 2016 Halloween success to the 2016 presidential election.

Promotional campaigns like “Hill-O-Ween,” “Trump Or Treat” and “It’s One Scary Election” brought in a lot of business, he said.

But business is still good, he said.

Based on amounts sold, North Carolina preferred Reese’s Cups over any other branded type of candy during the 2016 Halloween season.

“People come in for a lot of parties,” Smith said. “They go straight for the bigger purchases, for their kids. Like, giant bags of candy.”

The bulk retailer Candystore.com compiled 10 years of sales data to list candy sales by state.

Based on amounts sold, North Carolina preferred Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups over any other branded type of candy during the 2016 Halloween season, the wholesale retailer said.

But, this year, according to the retailer, more M&Ms have been sold than any other kind of treat: 96,110 pounds of them.

Candy is not the only Halloween-themed good Americans are buying.

The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend $2.7 billion on decorations, $410 million on greeting cards and $3.4 billion on costumes.

Of the multitudes of masked children who’ll frolic in streets about 2.2 million kids are expected to dress as princesses, and another 2.9 million as Batman or one of the Caped Crusader’s villains.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks