SCENE + HEARD: Today's Read Skeletons, Spellcasting, ‘Stranger Things’ and Spending: A Look at 2022’s Halloween Trends By Gwendolyn Plummer Friday, September 30, 2022 8:30 AM NEW YORK—October has arrived, and for many people that can only mean one thing: Halloween season is in full swing. There are just 30 days until the sweetest and spookiest day of the year, and, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans are taking full advantage of the witching season. The NRF reported that Halloween spending is back to pre-pandemic levels this year, with Halloween sales up to $10.6 billion in 2022, up from $10.1 billion in 2021. Consumers are planning to spend $100 on average for Halloween candy, décor, cards and costumes; the NRF said that this amount is on par with last year’s record of $103 and is the second highest in the survey’s history. So, if people are spending all that money on Halloween costumes, décor and candy, what exactly are they buying? Each year, Google Trends releases Google Frightgeist, a tool that compiles Google searches and data to determine the most popular Halloween costumes. The 2022 version hasn’t been shared yet, but the 2021 data is still available to peruse. Last year, Google found that “witch” was the trendiest costume, followed by “rabbit,” “dinosaur,” “Spider-Man,” and “Cruella de Vil” rounding out the top five. Frightgeist also lets users toggle between national and local trends, so you can see what your neighbors and coworkers are likely planning to wear this Halloween, too. For this year’s data, we can turn to Spirit Halloween, the U.S.’s largest Halloween retailer. So far, Spirit Halloween’s most popular costumes have been Hocus Pocus costumes, maybe because the classic movie’s highly anticipated sequel releases this weekend. “Witches” in general follow, and the third category is broadly “TV and Movie,” encompassing costumes from cultural phenomena like Stranger Things, Ted Lasso and movie superheroes. The NRF’s research echoes Spirit Halloween’s, reporting that “Spider-Man” is the top trending costume, with “witch” in third place. When it comes to décor, there’s one trend that seems to be taking over the rest: giant lawn decorations. From Home Depot’s famous 12-foot skeleton to oversized jack-o-lanterns and massive inflatable ghosts, bigger is better this season, House Digest suggests. If your style is more understated, though, there are still plenty of options: Hocus Pocus is trending in décor, too, reports House Digest, and so is more subtle Halloween-themed dinnerware that might even be adaptable year-round. All of this Halloween spending echoes a general return to pre-pandemic spending overall, says the NRF’s president and CEO Matthew Shay: “Halloween is an exciting time for many families, and that enthusiasm is reflected in the number of Americans who plan to celebrate the holiday this year. As consumers continue to return to pre-pandemic behaviors, retailers are prepared to meet that demand and help make this holiday a fun and memorable one.” The retail data seems to indicate that Americans are excited for Halloween, and are willing to spend money to celebrate it. For ECPs and retailers, of course, the trending data is great for getting involved on social media or in-office. From Instagram costume contests to 12-foot skeletons in exam chairs, there’s no shortage of ways to adapt this year’s Halloween trends to the optical industry. And with 30 days left to get involved, there’s plenty of time, too. So let’s get spooky.