Is Halloween Really the Second Largest US Holiday? 2022 Update!

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Back in 2013, CRG’s Halloween enthusiast wrote a blog inspired by the common belief: Halloween is the second largest holiday in consumer retail spending. (Spoiler alert – it’s not. Not by a long shot.) A little bit of research, a little bit of writing, and done. Blog published.

The team didn’t think anymore of it. That is, until the analytics came in. That fun little CRG blog on Halloween had THOUSANDS of views. THOUSANDS! Even more amazing, every year as Halloween approached, the blog continued to perform, landing a top spot on October’s analytic reports again and again. It seems we weren’t the only ones curious about Halloween’s place on the retail spending charts.

Today, nearly 10 years later, it’s time to revisit the question – and the numbers. How about now? With even more elaborate costumes, decorations, theme-parks, activities, parties, and food… Is Halloween the second largest retail holiday now?

The National Retail Federation ( is a goldmine of information. What consumers are spending money on, when they’re spending it, how they feel about spending it, and plenty of economic outlooks. If you’re searching for reliable statistics and info, this is the place!

Back in 2013, Winter Holidays was the undisputed king of all retail sales, taking up 76% of total holiday retail spend. Taking second place, a holiday that’s not even a holiday, Back to School. Halloween barely made the chart, with just a little more spent then St. Patrick’s Day.

Halloween spending myth – Busted!

Now, let’s fast forward to today’s data, which can all be found on one page:

It’s important to note that since 2013, the NRF has changed how this data is presented. Where we once had total spend, (in the billions of dollars) we now have the average per person spend. (This makes a lot more sense for analyzing actual habits and trends. A giant billion dollar figure doesn’t tell us much about Joe Average shopper.)

Looking at the most current data, we can see the tables have turned on Winter Holidays, which now come in second place to a new contender, Back-to-College. Back-to-College spending is going up, up, and away in just the 3 year (projected 4 year) time period featured. The average person will spend about $1,200 for Back-To-College as compared to just under $1,050 for the gift giving holiday season. That’s amazing, right there.

Once again, Halloween simply can’t compete with these market monsters. However, it’s making headway up the chart. Whereas Halloween was down at the very bottom in 2013, just beating out St. Patrick’s Day spending, today, it’s above the Super Bowl. This is very surprising, considering that some folks will drop big bucks on a new TV for the game.

Other movers and shakers? How about Easter hopping up over Valentine’s Day? That Easter bunny must be filling baskets with top-notch goodies while we spend less on our sweethearts. But we still spend more on our Mothers than on our Easter baskets, Valentines, or Fathers. (So don’t forget to get Dad something nice this year!)

Is Halloween the second largest holiday in retail spending? No. Will it ever? Halloween just has a bit more spending to overcome Graduation… but with the average at around $100 per person, there’s a long way to the $1,000 playing field at the top of the charts.

So the next time you read an article or post on Halloween’s huge spending, tell the author to check his/her facts. As much as we love to dress up and decorate, we’re still not even close to the number two slot.

And on a personal note, a big THANK YOU to our readers for making our original blog such a success. We hope you enjoy this update and keep coming back for more!