Halloween is healing.
According to the National Confectioners Association, a trade group for the U.S. sweets industry, sales of Halloween candy have already hit $324 million. That number is notable for two reasons: First, it's up 48% from last year, when the nation was in the throes of COVID-19 lockdown. But it's also up 60% from 2019, when trick-or-treaters weren't curtailed by state-wide social distancing.
Chocolate is enjoying a particularly delicious comeback, with sales seeing increases of 56% and 70% compared to early October sales in 2020 and 2019, respectively. This is good news for companies like Hershey, which are relying on Halloween to lift profits as they continue to recover from the pandemic.
The boo-st (get it?) isn't limited to treats. A survey from the National Retail Federation found the average consumer is set to invest $10 more in Halloween costumes, decorations, cards and, yes, candy than last year — a $102.74 price tag per person.
"Americans plan to spend more than ever to make this Halloween a memorable one," the federation's president and CEO, Matthew Shay, said in a news release.
Adding to the high cost of Halloween is supply chain shortages of items like witch hats, pumpkin-carving kits and banana costumes. Meanwhile, one of the country's major producers of candy corn has been dealing with the fallout of a ransomware attack.
If you haven't stocked up on sweets yet, now is the time to get in on the $324 million trend. You can even buy Halloween candy online: A quick Amazon search shows bags of treats like Tootsie Rolls, Pixy Stix and Airheads that, if ordered through Prime, will arrive before Sunday night.
FYI, you've got the go-ahead from the federal government. In a recent interview, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky told kids to "put on those costumes, stay outside and enjoy your trick-or-treating."
Sounds like a ghastly good time.