PHILADELPHIA — Spooky season is getting more expensive, from rising costs for pumpkin patch and higher salaries for local haunted house workers to rising chocolate prices.
But what’s even higher — after several years of inactive celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic — is the price of missing out.
National trends show Americans spending more on Halloween this year, including costumes, candy and events. The data also shows an increase in participation, driven in part by an impulse to catch up on things that weren’t possible during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Spending is also rising, returning to pre-pandemic levels for the first time.
The National Confectioners Association said it expects Halloween candy prices to rise by 5% this year, and according to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend about $3.1 billion on Halloween candy.
Pennsylvania candy industry titans Hershey Co. — the maker of Halloween mainstays Twizzlers, Reese’s, Kisses and KitKats — have introduced 14% overall price increases this summer. The company attributed “increased cost pressures”. A representative told the Los Angeles Times that Halloween candy was not explicitly targeted for price hikes.
Hershey CEO Michele Buck said the company won’t be able to produce enough Halloween-themed treats to meet demand this year. It’s just one element of global supply chain shortages — triggered by a combination of factors including the pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war — driving up the cost of ingredients while demand is also rising.
A review of Target’s October 2021 and October 2022 shopping flyers reveals the price of a bag of Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkins has increased by a dollar to $5.99 $.
Halloween attractions, such as haunted houses and seasonal theme park celebrations, see higher ticket prices overall. Sean Nyberg, an investor who has been following rising ticket prices on his Twitter account, showed how ticket prices for Disneyland’s annual Halloween celebration have risen 19% since 2019.
Ticket prices for Comcast-owned Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights at its California and Florida locations have jumped about 4% this year.
At Eastern State Penitentiary, Fairmount’s historic site and non-profit that has held annual Halloween nights (known as Terror Behind the Walls until 2020) for 30 years, the Season revenue supports conservation efforts and annual operating costs.
Brett Bertolino, vice president and chief operating officer of Eastern State Penitentiary, says Halloween Nights is the site’s biggest source of revenue, so inflation and supply chain issues have forced the organization nonprofit to reorganize prices and expenses.
This year, special Eastern State tours — such as the guide-led after-dark walking tour through the penitentiary’s hospital block — will cost $12 per person, up from $10, for cover the increased cost of souvenir flashlights that guests receive. Still, he says, the nonprofit has pledged to maintain the same Halloween Nights admission price (starting at $34).
Here’s how the venue’s regular admission prices have changed over the years for its Halloween event:
The chief operating officer said the nonprofit has increased base pay for employees to $15 an hour and offered new incentives, including free massages to counter the “physical demands” that come with nights out. of Halloween.
Bertolino added that Eastern State Penitentiary staff needed to get creative to cover the increased expenses without passing the cost on to visitors. He said building materials purchased in 2019 and left unused due to the pandemic have been repurposed. In addition, the penitentiary has increased its ticketing capacity. Last year, Halloween Nights ran with smaller capacities to better accommodate social distancing.
“At the end of this season, we expect our gross income to exceed last year, but our net income to be about the same,” Bertolino said. “Since we have not increased ticket prices, we are satisfied with this result. And we hope our visitors feel good too, knowing that their money is going to a good cause.
Across the Northeast, reports show pumpkin farms are facing higher costs.
Matthew Critz, owner of Critz Farms in upstate New York, told C NYCentral that the price of pumpkin seeds rose 10% while the price of fertilizer doubled. An unusual one-week stint of no rain coupled with high heat also made pumpkins look smaller.
“I don’t like raising prices, and I try not to raise them very often, but we raised them,” Critz said.
According to data from Statista, the national average price of a pumpkin has fluctuated over the past four Halloweens from $3.89 to $4.83. The average consumer price per pound of pumpkins is $1.38, according to the USDA.
Even your pumpkin spice latte costs more. Starbucks’ infamous drink returned with a cost increase of around 4% for its large size.
Data from the National Retail Federation shows Halloween attendance is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels. According to a report, 69% of consumers plan to celebrate the holidays, up four percentage points from last year. Total holiday spending is expected to hit a record $10.6 billion.
The top ways consumers plan to celebrate are:
— Candy distribution (67%)
— Decorating a house or garden (51%)
— Dressing up (47%)
— Carving a pumpkin (44%)
— Organize or attend a Halloween party (28%)
Reports show consumers plan to spend an average of $100 on candy, decorations, Halloween costumes, and more.
However, the concept of FOMO (fear of missing out) could contribute to the increase.
Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insights for the National Retail Federation, told the Los Angeles Times that the increase is a rebound effect from being stuck indoors throughout the pandemic, coupled with young people feeling the need to post on social media documenting their experiences.
For this reason, she says, young adults should participate more in Halloween events this year.
Several academic research labs are studying the correlations between FOMO and the pandemic. At Montclair State University in New Jersey, the school’s Center for Strategic Communication released a report that links the post-pandemic boost to increased interest in pumpkin spice.
“Consumers are intensely focused on trying to ‘catch up’ on what has been missed as they have been denied opportunities during the pandemic, according to the report.