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Trick or treat? The UK is set to spend £719m* on Halloween

19 October 2017

Almost a third (31%) of people say they will celebrate Halloween, spending £38 on average while 40% will do nothing on the frightful day!

  • Only 23% of UK adults welcome trick-or-treaters to their home;
  • 26% object to the ‘Americanisation’ of Halloween festivities;
  • Scots are least likely (48%) to celebrate Halloween, but spend the most (average £60.90) when they do.

Love or fear it – we’re a divided nation when it comes to Halloween. But shops and bars will be coining it in regardless, according to research commissioned by GoCompare Money

Two fifths (39%) of those who are up for some ghoulish fun plan to spend on average £37.70 on themed food and drink, costumes, treats and events, while a fifth will fork out over £50.  

But a mixture of commercialisation and perceived ‘Americanisation’, especially the tradition of trick-or-treating, put many off Halloween. It has the fewest fans in Scotland according to the research, with people living there the least likely (48%) to mark Halloween (those who do, however, spend the most – an average of £60.90 each).

One in ten people admit to doing everything possible to deter trick-or-treaters to their homes, with people in Scotland and the West Midlands the least likely to appreciate ghoulish callers. If you are going trick-or-treating, you will be most welcome to homes in the North East (28%) and North West (28%).

Most popular Halloween activities

  • Carving a pumpkin (13%)
  • Dressing-up (10%)
  • Decorating the house (9%)
  • Trick-or-treating (8%)
  • Attending a Halloween house party (6%)
  • Going to an organised Halloween event such as a club night, cinema screening or zoo or museum event (4%)

Young adults (aged 18 to 24) are the keenest Halloween revellers, this age group is most likely to carve a jack-o-lantern (24%), don fancy dress (25%), decorate their home (16%), and go to a Halloween house party (17%) or an organised event (14%).   

Commenting on the research, Georgie Frost, from GoCompare said,

“Love it or loathe it, and many do, Halloween is very much here to stay. It’s become a monster sales opportunity for UK businesses and has really grown in popularity in recent years. Shops and cafes have been pushing Halloween themed products for the last month – from fancy dress to pumpkin spice lattes, ghoulish chocolates to creepy decorations for your home and garden.

“But it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg for you to have a frightfully good time. Many supermarkets are selling cheap costumes, or see what there is at your local charity shop, and get creative with some red paint! Parties at home will keep down costs and you can play traditional games such as apple bobbing, pin the wart on the witch or create a themed treasure hunt. Decorate by cutting bat shapes out of black paper and hanging them up around the house.

“If you are expecting trick-or-treaters, check your cupboards first to see what you have around. If you do buy treats, remember to buy in bulk and look out for discounts as there are many around at the moment.

“However, if you are planning on going out yourself, it’s clear from our research that most people don’t like being visited by trick-or-treaters, so always be polite and considerate. Only visit the neighbours where you know you’ll be welcome and houses which are visibly decorated or have a lit pumpkin.  And, keep an eye on the time – no-one will thank you for knocking on doors late in the evening.”    

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*The UK Adult population (20+) estimated to be 48,913,000 (Source: Annual mid-year population estimates for the UK, 2014).  39% of UK adults say they will spend money on Halloween celebrations, equating to 19,076,070 people.  19,076,070 multiplied by the average spend of £37.70 equates to £719m.

**On 10 October 2017, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,000 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.