About 172 million Americans are planning to celebrate Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey.
To fund those celebrations, people will spend about $86 on items such as costumes and decorations, according to the Federation. And of course, candy. Nearly 70% of those participating in Halloween festivities say they are planning to hand out candy.
"Spending hasn't changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. That includes all aspects of Halloween, from the costumes to the parties to the delicious treats.
But before you rush out to buy candy that will make you the house to beat in your neighborhood this year, take a minute to shop around for the best deals. CNBC Make It took a look at the prices for trick-or-treat candy offered by major retailers in the New York City metro area. Specifically, we looked at the overall cost for at least 300 pieces of fun-sized candy from premium brands, including a mix of chocolate and fruity options.
Walgreens offers the cheapest prices if you're looking to get a few hundred fun-sized candies for trick-or-treaters. The drug store has all of the popular brands on sale for in-store purchases. To get a good mix of at least 300 fruity and chocolate treats, we found that buying a combination of sizes and brands worked best.
Of course, each retailer sells slightly different options at a range of prices, so you may need to do some mental math as you shop to determine if mixing and matching two bags of 150-count candies is really cheaper than simply buying one bag that contains over 300 pieces and has a variety of brands.
For the winning combination at Walgreens, we shopped four different bags of treats:
Depending on your neighborhood, you may have different candy needs. If you only have a couple dozen trick-or-treaters, many retailers have good deals on smaller bags of candy. Or you could even splurge on full-sized candy bars.
While Costco didn't have a wide enough selection of bagged candy to make our analysis, the retailer is offering 30-count variety packs of Mars bar chocolate for $13.29 and Hershey's for $13.49, according to the Krazy Coupon Lady. Rite-Aid is also offering a pack of 18 full-sized chocolate bars for $12.88.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you're expecting hundreds of visitors during trick-or-treating, then you'll need to really stock up. We found that fruity candy varieties, such as Skittles, Starbursts, SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy and Nerds, typically tend to be less expensive than bags of Hershey's or Mars chocolates.
If you're looking for a variety bag of candies, Target has 400-count packs of Mars chocolates (Snickers, M&Ms, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers and Twix) on sale for $16.24 each if you buy two. You'll need to use Target's in-app coupon to get the deal.
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