Shoppers would rather spend money on Halloween than face the real horrors in Parliament - Ros Snowdon

Asda colleagues get into the Halloween spirit
Asda colleagues get into the Halloween spirit
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Halloween spending is expected to reach a record £387m this year, according to new research by retail marketing agency Savvy.

This represents a 6 per cent increase on last year as nearly half (45 per cent) of shoppers say they are planning to buy Halloween goods.

As you would expect, the vast majority of these shoppers will be buying confectionery to hand out to “trick or treaters”, but there has been a rise in Halloween’s popularity among young adults and spending on food, drink and costumes for parties is expected to increase.

Over a third of adults (37 per cent) plan to stay at home to watch a spooky film. The Savvy research showed that fewer men (40 per cent) will get involved in celebrating Halloween than women (49 per cent).

Adults aged 18 to 34 are most likely to get involved, with 57 per cent celebrating. This compares with only 25 per cent of 55-74 year olds who plan to celebrate the event.

This could well be due to the fact that Halloween is an American import and before the 1980s, it wasn’t really celebrated in the UK.

Instead, Guy Fawkes Night on November 5 was the main event for kids growing up in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s - a uniquely British event, dating back to the English Catholics (including York-born Guy Fawkes) who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot to blow up the House of Commons in 1605.

Then came the blockbuster Hollywood scary films of the 1980s, which were launched to coincide with Halloween and the US import was firmly ensconced in the British psyche.

People who were kids in the 1990s and 2000s were taken “trick or treating” by their parents and now they are young adults, they continue the celebration with Halloween themed parties.

Savvy said that amongst those planning to get involved, the vast majority (80 per cent) plan to buy sweets, treats and chocolates.

Among this group, 43 per cent plan to decorate their homes and the same proportion plan to buy Halloween outfits.

A third (32 per cent) will go out “trick or treating” and six per cent said they would celebrate with colleagues at work. Blackfriar is very pleased this is not a Yorkshire Post tradition.

Savvy said the vast majority (88 per cent) of shoppers start planning for Halloween a couple of weeks before October 31. However, it added that retailers left with stock to clear in the final hours will be pleased to see that 10 per cent say that they plan to leave it to the last minute.

Savvy said that in keeping with previous years, supermarkets are the most popular place for shoppers searching for ideas - with 73 per cent of Halloween shoppers on the hunt for inspiration here. Leeds-based Asda has been heavily promoting Halloween in its TV advertising and it is a popular place for shoppers on a budget.

The latest Kantar data shows that households have already spent £1.5m on pumpkins ahead of Halloween, while predictions of stockpiling in preparation for a no-deal Brexit are yet to translate into consistent sales.

Kantar said that while pumpkin sales are 29 per cent higher than last year, it appears that shoppers have not stockpiled ahead of Brexit.

However, there are signs that people have been doing some forward planning. Sales of dry pasta and healthcare products are 9 and 7 per cent higher than the same time last year, but sales of canned products fell by 2 and frozen food by 1 per cent.

It appears that shoppers would far more prefer to spend money on Halloween - a fantasy event - rather than face the very real horrors that are going on in Parliament right now. Maybe people will view Guy Fawkes with a bit more sympathy this year.