Halloween in America

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in ComLead, Integrated Marketing Communication

The season of candy, costumes and haunted houses is upon us and with an expected consumer spending of $6.9 billion for 2015 Halloween ranks as the second highest grossing commercial Holiday after Christmas.

Long gone are the days of Halloween being known as a holiday strictly for children.  Kids get excited about trick or treating but adults have joined in on the fun too. How did we get here?  Follow the evolution of Halloween in the U.S. below.


Mid 1800s– English and Irish immigrants bring Halloween to U.S.

1930’s– Trick or treating becomes a popular Halloween staple.

 1940s and 1950s- Candy-makers and retailers start to commercialize the holiday once they realize the profit potential of selling kids costumes and trick or treating.

 *Fun Fact* Snickers has been the number one Halloween candy for years

 1970s– Halloween parade in NYC Greenwich Village debuts. This points marketers to a new audience with an increased purchasing power: adults.  Costumes, pumpkin carving products, and house decorations become the norm in stores.

Early 2000s– 90-95% of female costumes are categorized as “sexy” which some consumers feel has had a trickle-down effect on younger female costumes.  Advertising continues to perpetuate the idea that male costumes should portray the realistic version of characters while female costumes should be a ‘cute’ or ‘sexy’ version.


Advertising has a huge effect on our behavior and how we perceive the world around us. Marketers started to pay more attention to Halloween so consumers started to spend more.  Males and females wear the same costumes they see other males and females wearing.  In this area, some companies have started to become more progressive with their advertising in hopes of changing the status quo.  Disney no longer categorizes their costumes by sex and Target used a disabled child in their costume advertising.

When all is said and done, Halloween has become a holiday that people of all ages can celebrate and look forward to.  Commercialization and marketing are the reasons we have so many great costumes to choose from for our parties and those delicious pumpkin shaped Reese’s. So celebrate the positives and have a spook-tacular Holiday!


Check out this NY Times article on Halloween from 1988

happy halloween


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