The Great Halloween Candy Scam

By Josh Resnek

Candy for sale at Target. (Photo by Joe Resnek)

Whatever it is you are buying for Halloween, the packages of candy contain less and cost way more than they did last year at this time.

And it isn’t just candy.

Pumpkins that cost $5 last year cost $10 this year.

Inflation has sent prices for candy through the roof.

Folks that used to give out whole candy bars are being forced to give out smaller pieces in order to sustain the crush of trick or treaters who will shortly be going around neighborhoods for the Halloween.

Candy, snacks and sugary treats are significantly more expensive this year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent Consumer Price Index, the cost of candy has jumped by 13.1 percent since last year, which is the biggest year-to-year increase ever. (NPR noted that previously it took from 1997 to 2006 — nine entire years — for candy prices to soar by 13%.)

(Photo by Joe Resnek)

Those notable (and noticeable) price increases are largely because of the increasing costs of both sugar and cocoa, crucial candy ingredients that have been affected by drought, supply chain issues, and disruptions caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine. But having to spend a bit more for candy (and on costumes and decorations) apparently isn’t going to stop the majority of Halloween lovers from enjoying the holiday. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, 69 percent of consumers are going to take part in some kind of Halloween-related activities this year, which is the highest percentage of Spooky Season participation since before the pandemic.

The average consumer is expected to spend $100 on Halloween this year, which includes the cost of buying candy, decor, and costumes. The NRF estimates that total spending for the holiday will hit $10.6 billion, a new record high.

That still won’t be close to the best years of candy consumption and distribution before the COVID pandemic – but it is coming closer.

This year, homeowners distributing candy to kids will be spending more and giving out less.

This is the great lament of our time right now.

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