Data visualization assesses Halloween 2015: Who gets and gives the candy?

By Eshan Wickrema and Lachlan James

Halloween is one of those ritualistic events that has the ability to polarize. Some people love it; some people think the whole thing’s a childish waste of time. Similarly, different cultures approach (or ignore) the tradition in a variety of ways.

But something that’s synonymous with celebrating Halloween, around the world, is the concept of the ‘trick-or-treat’ candy exchange (although, realistically, it’s not really a two-way swap, is it!?).

However, enthusiasm for candy at Halloween time varies markedly by demographic. So, let’s turn to data visualization and Business Intelligence software to uncover which people are most likely to dress-up and hit-up the houses in your neighborhood in search of candy. And, importantly, who is also most likely to donate, not just demand, candy to the cause.

Data source: Prosper Insights & Analytics™, Monthly Consumer Survey, SEP-15 >

Which age groups are most likely to celebrate Halloween 2015?


  • The 18 – 24 year old age group is the one most likely to celebrate Halloween (82%)
  • The over 65 age group is the only one which is more likely to snub, rather than celebrate, Halloween
  • There is a clear correlation which stipulates that the older you are the less likely you are to celebrate Halloween

There’s nothing like the enthusiasm of youth

The facts are clear. The younger you are, the more likely you are to celebrate Halloween – or at least use it as an excuse for revelry. And while there is an unequivocally consistent correlation between age and the propensity to party (at Halloween), the over 65 bracket is the only age group that is more likely not to celebrate Halloween (58%).

But, just because you’re in the mood for merrymaking, does that necessarily mean that you are also the most likely type of person to hand out candy?

Which demographic is the most likely to give out candy?


  • Gender: Overall, women are slightly more likely than men to spend their own earnings on candy for others – 68.3% of females compared to 67.4% of males plan to hand out candy this Halloween
  • Age: The 45 – 54 age group is the most likely to hand out candy (78.5%), while 18 – 24 year olds are the least likely to give candy to others (48%)
  • Income: Those with (presumably) more disposable income are more likely to stockpile candy for strangers – 72.2% of those earning over $50K per year plan to distribute delicious treats to others, compared to 62.9% of people earning under $50K per annum
  • Location: People located in the Mid-West are most likely to dispense treats this Halloween (71.2%), with those in the West bringing up the rear (64.1%)

Chose your targets tactically

While the ‘youngsters’ are pumped to party, they’re not so prepared to dip their hand into their own pocket. In fact, the 18 – 24 age bracket is the least likely group to purchase candy for others (48%). There is an upward trend in plans to purchase candy for trick-or-treaters up until the 45 – 54 age group (78.5%). It’s reasonable to assume that this trend probably correlates with increased earnings (and therefore recreational spending capacity). From 45 onwards, the propensity to purchase candy for others remains similarly high.

Backing this theory is the fact that those earning more than $50K per year are significantly more likely to purchase candy for others (72.2%) when compared to people with an annual income less than $50K (62.9%).

Somewhat surprisingly, there is significant variance by region, with those residing in the Mid-West most likely to buy candy for others this Halloween (71.2%), compared to only 64.1% of people from the West.

Gender differential is marginal, with females (68.3%) slightly more likely than males (67.4%) to purchase candy for others.

The verdict

When profiling people for trick-or-treating during Halloween 2015, here’s the type of people you should both seek out and avoid:

  • Best targets when trick-or-treating: Females earning more than $50K per year, living in the Mid-West, between 45 – 54 years old
  • Worst targets when trick-or-treating: Males earning less than $50K per year, living in the West, aged between 18 and 24 years old

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