For those with a sweet tooth, the scariest thing about Halloween this year might be the sticker shock at your local grocery store.
The cost of candy and gum is up 12.8% this month compared to the same period last year, according to research firm Datasembly, significantly outpacing the 6.7% increase in overall grocery prices. Furthermore, the National Retail Federation’s annual holiday survey found that consumer spending on Halloween candy will reach record numbers this year, totaling $3.6 billion — up from $3.1 last year.
“The price of candy has gotten to be outrageous,” Jessica Weathers, a small business owner in Illinois, told the Associated Press. “It doesn’t make sense to me to spend $100 on candy.”
Weathers added that although she usually stocks up on candy for Halloween for trick-or-treating, this year, she only purchased two bags and plans to turn off her porch lights when the supply runs out.
Other consumers are turning to off-brand candy options to mitigate the price rise.
A survey of around 4,500 consumers by data firm Numerator found that of those purchasing candy for trick-or-treaters, 31% plan to buy value or store-brand candy for trick-or-treaters, while only 15% will opt for premium or high-end brands.
Persistent inflation has driven up the cost of household goods over the past year and naturally attributed to the rising candy prices this year. However, the upward trend is also linked to elevated cocoa prices, which have reached a 44-year high, according to the AP. The increase is attributed to limited production caused by heavy rains in West Africa last year and a subsequent drought, which is ongoing. And unfortunately, there’s no clear end to the skyrocketing prices of sweets in sight, some experts say.
“There may be no price relief in sight, at least through the first half of 2024,” Dan Sadler, principal of client insights for market research firm Circana, told the AP.