HPU Poll: A Majority of North Carolinians Will Celebrate Halloween This Year

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More than half of North Carolinians say stocking shelves for Christmas before Halloween is too early.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 23, 2019 – A High Point University Poll finds that 65% of North Carolinians will celebrate Halloween this year, while 33% will not celebrate. These findings are similar to a 2018 HPU Poll, when 63% of North Carolinians said they would celebrate Halloween.

Seventy-four percent said they will spend the same amount of money as last year, while 14% will spend more and 11% will spend less. In 2018, 19% of HPU Poll respondents said they would spend more than the previous year.

For those who will celebrate, they said they plan to spend an average of $87 total, which includes money spent on costumes, decorations, candy and food and drink.

Finally, the poll asked participants if they think it’s too early for retailers to begin stocking their shelves for Christmas. A majority (56%) of North Carolinians agree that September and October is too early, while about a quarter of respondents (24%) do not think it’s too early for retailers to begin getting their shelves ready for Christmas.

“According to our recent poll, most North Carolinians that celebrate Halloween said that they would be spending about the same as last year on the holiday, which is about $87 on average,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “And a majority of our poll respondents agreed that it is too early for retailers to begin stocking shelves for Christmas.”

All adults – Celebrating Halloween (September/October 2019)

I know it is a few weeks off, but now I would like to ask you about Halloween. Do you celebrate the Halloween holiday?

Yes – 65%

No – 33%

Don’t know/refuse – 3%

(All adults North Carolina resident phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 27 – Oct. 4, 2019, n = 1009 and credibility interval of +/- 4%)

Adults Who Celebrate – Average Spending (September/October 2019)

Some people spend a lot of time and money celebrating the Halloween holiday, others do not celebrate much at all. Altogether how much money would you say you will spend this year on Halloween, including things like costumes, decorations, candy to give out, and food and drinks?

Average (Mean) – $87

$50 or less – 54%

More than $50 – 46%

Based on 654 respondents who provided an approximate dollar figure for their spending.

(All adults North Carolina resident phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 27 – Oct. 4, 2019, n = 1009 and credibility interval of +/- 4%)

All Adults – Spend more or less (September/October 2019)

Would you say that is more or less money that you spent last year?

More – 14%

About the same – 74%

Less – 11%

Don’t know – 1%

(All adults North Carolina resident phone and online sample who said they celebrate Halloween, surveyed Sept. 27 – Oct. 4, 2019, n = 652 and credibility interval of +/- 5%)

All Adults – Holidays (September/October 2019)


Some retailers begin stocking for Christmas in September and October. Do you think it is too early for them to start stocking their shelves for Christmas?

Yes – 56%

No – 24%

Maybe – 17%

Don’t know/Refuse – 4%

(All adults North Carolina resident phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 27 – Oct. 4, 2019, n = 1009 and credibility interval of +/- 4%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on September 27 – October 4, 2019 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 1009 adults interviewed online (754 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (255 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with Dynata, formerly Research Now SSI: https://www.dynata.com/ to acquire these samples, and fielded the online survey using its Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, so their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classical margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 4 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.1 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.3 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education level based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2019/10/67memoA.pdf.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see


You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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