A Positive Halloween Forecast Bodes Well for Themed Sports Events | Sports Destination Management

A Positive Halloween Forecast Bodes Well for Themed Sports Events

Oct 06, 2022 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Photo © Bratty1206 | Dreamstime.com

What can a consumer forecast about Halloween tell us about the sports market? A lot, as it turns out, and it’s all good news.

The National Retail Federation is predicting a return to pre-2020 numbers in terms of spending and activities for the first major celebration of the fall – and the second-biggest retail event of the year. (Yes, second only to the Christmas holidays).

For 2022, a total of $10.1 billion is forecast to be spent. That eclipses the $10.1 billion figure last year and, if predictions are accurate, will set a new high-water mark for Halloween. Household spending, meanwhile, is likewise expected to hit an all-time high, with an average of $102.74 being spent per household. The percentage of people celebrating is expected to climb to 69 this year, also an increase over previous years – although 2017 was the overall high year for celebrations (72 percent), making 2022’s the second-highest number in the sport’s history.

Extrapolate these numbers and we see an increase in the number of people not only throwing parties but going to Halloween-themed events, and that includes themed tournaments. Expect that pent-up demand will play into a spike in travel – and that event owners will be harnessing the enthusiasm to bring registrants, particularly when tournaments can make it fun for younger athletes to dress in costume. Here are some of the events appearing at the top of searches.

Salisbury University Soccer Club is hosting its Halloween Howler; the event for teams U17 through adult includes competitions for the best-dressed team and the best-dressed tent.

Freehold Soccer League has the 23rd Freehold Fright Fest; teams are encouraged to wear costumes and have a team pumpkin entry.  Each site will award prizes for best costume and best pumpkin. (Don’t miss the pictures).

USTA is having its Halloween Charity Tennis Tournament; this event is a traditional men's/women's doubles tennis tournament that includes a separate Up-Down competition for amateur wheelchair players. Amenities include free beer, meals, snacks, soft drinks, sports drinks, water and more. While costumes are not required, players are encouraged to dress up in costumes to complete the Halloween-themed experience. 

The website for the Halloween Havoc Pickleball Tournament, just one of countless themed tournaments, does not mention costumes…but does not rule it out, either.

Halloween sportsThe military also gets into the spirit of the holiday; in Texas, Fort Bliss will be the host of the 8th Annual Nathaniel A. LaCour Halloween Classic Basketball Tournament, open to the public, Active-Duty, Family Members, DOD ID cardholders and civilians 18 and older.

Running in the USA, which tracks various foot races throughout the U.S., has recorded an inordinate number of races (upwards of 800, at last check) on the weekend prior to Halloween (October 29 and 30). Most 5Ks include key words such as Halloween, Ghoul, Witch, Haunted, Pumpkin, Zombie, Ghost and similar terms.

Travel, including to tournaments, is also likely to result in longer stays, according to this article. And that means visits to attractions associated with Halloween. Theme parks like Disney (where Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is making a comeback after cancellations in 2020 and 2021) are bracing for sellouts on certain nights; in fact, a site with the ingenious name of Mouse Hacking has insights on prices, how far in advance to reserve, expected activities and other information.

It's likely most travel, tournaments and associated activities will take place the weekend just prior to Halloween – Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30. This year, Halloween falls on a Monday.

As the ghosts say, boo.

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