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Oct 28th, 2022

HPU Poll: Most North Carolinians Are Celebrating Halloween This Year

The HPU Poll finds residents are also watching scary movies and passing out candy.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 28, 2022 – A High Point University Poll finds that almost two-thirds (63%) of North Carolinians will celebrate Halloween this year, while 34% will not celebrate. These findings are similar to a 2019 HPU Poll, when 65% of North Carolinians said they would celebrate Halloween.

A majority (65%) of respondents said they will spend the same amount of money as last year, while 16% will spend more and 17% will spend less. In 2019, 74% said they will spend the same amount of money as last year, while 14% will spend more and 11% will spend less.

For those who will celebrate, the median for spending is $30, which includes money spent on costumes, decorations, candy and food and drink.

This year, the HPU Poll asked North Carolina residents to indicate whether they plan to do a variety of things to celebrate Halloween. Majorities said that they will watch a scary movie (53%) and pass out candy to children trick-or-treating at their house (51%). Just about half (48%) said that they will display Halloween decorations in their home or yard. Less than 40% of respondents said that they will carve a pumpkin (37%), dress their children in costumes (32%), wear a costume (31%), take children trick-or-treating (31%), attend a Halloween party (27%), dress up a pet in costume (20%) or pass out healthy snacks instead of candy to children trick-or-treating (18%).

The poll also asked respondents to indicate whether they have favorable or unfavorable views of several candies. Over three-quarters said that they have a favorable opinion of M&M’s (87%), Reese’s Cups (87%), Snickers (85%), Kit Kat (85%), Hershey bars (85%), and Twix (81%). Still, a majority said that they have a favorable opinion of Butterfinger (71%), Tootsie rolls (69%), Skittles (66%), Smarties (60%), Whoppers (60%), candy corn (56%), Sour Patch Kids (54%), Nerds (53%) and pumpkin spice (51%). Mary Janes, the candy that is in orange and black wrapping and tastes kind of like peanut butter, only had a favorable rating of 42% among North Carolinians.

“According to our recent poll, most North Carolinians will be watching a scary movie this Halloween,” said Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “The poll also gave insight to what candies are most favored by North Carolinians, with M&M’s and Reese’s Cups at the top of the list.”

NC residents – Halloween (October 2022)

Changing topics again. It’s a week or so away, but do you celebrate the Halloween holiday?
All Adults
Yes 63
No 34
Unsure 4


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?
All Adults (n=940)
Median Halloween spending in dollars $30


Would you say that is more or less than last year?
All Adults
More 16
About the same 65
Less 17
Unsure 2


Please indicate whether you plan to do each of the following to celebrate Halloween, or not
Yes No Unsure
Watch a scary movie 53 40 7
Pass out candy to children trick-or-treating at your house 51 42 7
Display Halloween decorations in your home or yard 48 47 5
Carve a pumpkin 37 53 10
Dress your children in costumes 32 62 6
Wear a costume 31 61 8
Take children trick or treating 31 65 5
Attend a Halloween party 27 64 10
Dress up a pet in costume 20 74 6
Pass out healthy snacks instead of candy to children trick-o-treating at your house 18 73 9


Please indicate whether you have [favorable or unfavorable] view of each of items listed below.
Favorable Unfavorable Unsure/Not familiar with this person or thing
M&M’s 87 9 4
Reese’s Cups 87 10 3
Snickers 85 12 3
Kit Kat 85 12 3
Hershey bars 85 12 4
Twix 81 15 3
Butterfinger 71 25 5
Tootsie rolls 69 26 4
Skittles 66 29 5
Smarties 60 30 10
Whoppers 60 33 7
Candy corn 56 40 5
Sour Patch Kids 54 40 6
Nerds 53 38 9
Pumpkin spice 51 38 11
Mary Janes (that candy that is in orange and black wrapping and tastes kind of like peanut butter) 43 40 17


The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by the High Point University Survey Research Center on Oct. 19 through Oct. 27, 2022, as an online survey using a panel of 1009 North Carolina respondents recruited and maintained by Dynata. Dynata sent invitations to its panel of NC respondents and the SRC collected responses on its Qualtrics platform. The SRC did all data analysis. The online sample is from a panel of respondents, and their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classic margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.2 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 1.1 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity and education 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 errors into the findings of opinion polls.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website. 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. See more information here.

You can follow the HPU Poll Twitter here.

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.