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Most U.S. Adults Plan to Celebrate Halloween, but Only One-Quarter Plan to Dress Up

posted 28 Oct 2010, 14:24 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 28 Oct 2010, 14:27 ]

Additionally, a substantial minority of Americans think trick-or-treating is very dangerous while some say Halloween conflicts with their religious beliefs

NEW YORKOct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the recent spike in popularity of vampires, werewolves, and horror films, half of U.S. adults (51%) feel Halloween is an overhyped holiday and one-third (32%) believe only children should dress up for Halloween. This may help explain why two-thirds of adults (66%) say they plan to celebrate Halloween this year, but only one-quarter (26%) are planning to dress up.

These are some of the findings of a new Harris Poll survey of 2,041 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 25 and 27, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Americans Won't Be Caught in Costume

Dressing up in costume is not a Halloween "must" for American adults, as only about one-quarter (26%) say they plan to dress up this year. The majority of those who plan to dress up (63%) say they know what they'll be. One thing to note is that this poll was fielded the week of Halloween, leaving nearly two in five adults who plan to dress up (37%) still undecided on their costume of choice, less than a week from the holiday.

Perhaps not surprisingly, young adults aged 18-34 are the most likely of all age groups to say they're planning to dress in costume this year (44%). While men (25%) and women (27%) are both equally likely to be dressing up for Halloween, of those who say they are dressing up, women are more likely than men to say they know what they're dressing up as (71% vs. 53%, respectively), which may not come as much of a surprise as women are also more likely than men to say that Halloween is their favorite holiday (31% vs. 25%, respectively).

The top five costumes among people who are planning to dress up as (among those listed) are as follows:

  • TV show or movie character (1);
  • Witch/wizard (2);
  • Cartoon character (3);
  • Pirate (4); and,
  • Monster (5).

Of course, different age groups are drawn to different types of costumes. Dressing up as a character from a TV show or movie is the most popular costume option among those 18-34 who plan to dress up. Going as a superhero is the top costume option among 35-44 year olds who plan to dress up, while the number one Halloween costume among 45-54 year olds who are dressing up is a witch or wizard disguise. And, finally, among the options listed, a pumpkin is the number one costume people 55 years and older will be wearing.

Halloween Celebrations

Despite only a minority of adults planning to dress up for Halloween, two-thirds of adults plan to celebrateHalloween in some way this year. Among those who plan to celebrate Halloween this year, the top five most popular ways to celebrate are:

  • Giving out candy to trick-or-treaters (57%);
  • Putting up Halloween decorations (31%);
  • Carving pumpkins (24%);
  • Attending a Halloween party (24%);
  • Trick-or-treating with kids or grandkids (23%); and,
  • Watching scary movies (23%).

Interestingly, among Americans who are planning to celebrate Halloween this year, passing out candy to trick-or-treaters is the number one Halloween activity that most people are planning to take part in regardless of age.

Halloween Hesitations

However, many Americans express negative sentiments toward Halloween – and for a variety of reasons. To start, just over half of Americans (51%) believe Halloween is an overhyped holiday, with even more men feeling this way (55%) than women (47%). Further, a substantial minority has their reservations about trick-or-treating, as two in five adults (41%) agree that trick-or-treating is very dangerous for kids. Finally, 18% of Americans say Halloween conflicts with their religious beliefs.

So What?

While Halloween allows many opportunities for celebrations and a minority of Americans consider it their favorite holiday, a good chunk of Americans have their reservations about these festivities– whether it be that they consider the holiday overhyped, that they link it to potential dangers for kids, or even say interferes with their religion. It would be interesting to compare negative sentiments toward Halloween to other holidays, such as New Year's EveSt. Patrick's Day and Fourth of July, which may also carry negative sentiments from people, as well.

TABLE 1A

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

"Which of the following, if any, are you planning to dress up as for Halloween this year?"

Base: All adults



Total

Age

Gender

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Plan to dress up this year (NET)

26

44

29

20

12

25

27

    Know what will dress up as this year (NET)

16

28

17

10

9

13

19

    I don't know yet.

10

15

12

9

4

12

8

I don't plan to dress up for Halloween this year.

74

56

71

80

88

75

73

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding



TABLE 1B

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

"Which of the following, if any, are you planning to dress up as for Halloween this year?"

Base: All adults planning to dress up for Halloween this year



Total

Age

Gender

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Know what will dress up as this year (NET)

63

65

59

53

69

53

71

I don't know yet.

37

35

41

47

31

47

29

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding



TABLE 1C

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

"Which of the following, if any, are you planning to dress up as for Halloween this year?"

Base: All adults planning to dress up for Halloween this year


Top costumes overall:

    TV show or movie character (not a cartoon)

1

    Witch/Wizard

2

    Cartoon character

3

    Pirate

4

    Monster

5

    Celebrity

6

    Vampire

=7

    Animal

=7

    Superhero

9

    Pumpkin

10

    Historical figure

11

    Athlete

12

    Political figure

13

    Prince/Princess

=14

    Ghost

=14

    Someone I know (e.g. family

    member, friend, co-worker)

16

    Knight

17


Top costumes among various age groups:

    18-34

TV show or movie character (not a cartoon)

    35-44

Superhero

    45-54

Witch/Wizard

    55+

Pumpkin




TABLE 2A

CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN

"In which of the following ways, if any, do you plan to celebrate Halloween this year?  Please select all that a pply."

Base: All adults



Total


%

Plan to celebrate Halloween this year (NET)

66

I do not plan to celebrate Halloween this year

34

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding



TABLE 2B

CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN

"In which of the following ways, if any, do you plan to celebrate Halloween this year?  Please select all that apply."

Base: All adults who plan to celebrate Halloween this year



Total

Age

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

%

%

%

%

%

Give out candy to trick-or-treaters

57

42

55

66

70

Put up Halloween decorations

31

30

30

34

31

Carve pumpkins

24

32

32

20

12

Attend a Halloween party

24

37

25

19

12

Trick-or-treat with my kids/grandkids

23

23

41

23

13

Watch scary movies

23

33

28

25

7

Dress up in a costume

22

33

23

15

11

Go out with friends

18

33

16

10

7

Bake Halloween goodies (e.g. cookies, cake, candy)

17

21

19

18

11

Go to a haunted house

8

11

11

10

1

Trick-or-treat with friends

5

8

7

2

1

Other

11

9

10

8

14

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding



TABLE 3A

HALLOWEEN OPINIONS

"How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?"

Base: All adults



Agree (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Disagree (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree


%

%

%

%

%

%

Halloween is an overhyped holiday.

51

23

28

49

26

23

Trick-or-treating is very dangerous for kids.

41

10

32

59

35

24

Only children should dress up for Halloween.

32

12

20

68

29

39

Halloween is my favorite holiday.

28

7

21

72

27

44

Halloween conflicts with my religious beliefs.

18

9

8

82

15

67

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding



TABLE 3B

HALLOWEEN OPINIONS

"How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?"

Summary of those saying "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree"

Base: All adults



Total

Gender

Male

Female

%

%

%

Halloween is an overhyped holiday.

51

55

47

Trick-or-treating is very dangerous for kids.

41

39

43

Only children should dress up for Halloween.

32

37

27

Halloween is my favorite holiday.

28

25

31

Halloween conflicts with my religious beliefs.

18

20

16

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding




Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 25 and 27, 2010 among 2,041 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Where appropriate, this data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll ® #131, October 28, 2010

By Whitney Heckathorne, Public Relations Manager, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:

Corporate Communications

Harris Interactive

212-539-9600

press@harrisinteractive.net



SOURCE Harris Interactive

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