When the calendar page flips to October, pumpkins, costumes and fun-size candy start becoming the all-important purchases. Halloween lands on a Tuesday this year, so count on the celebrations to start the Friday before, at least for those who want to make money. How much money? Well, Halloween is a $9 billion-plus industry so there’s a great chance that people enjoying sports around that time will be looking to combine the two. Orange is the new black ink, apparently.
The National Retail Federation has the stats to back that up. Its projections for Halloween 2017 include more than 179 million Americans poised to take part in Halloween festivities, up from 171 million the previous year. Consumers are expected to spend $9.1 billion, up from $8.4 billion in 2016.
And according to our friends at WalletHub, who also did special research on Halloween spending, in 2016, nearly 70 percent of people planned to celebrate Halloween. About 34 percent of those were attending or throwing a party.
Athletes (or at least weekend warriors) who are among the Halloween aficionados will be looking for tie-in events. Nationwide, Running in the USA’s calendar showed more than 1,100 classic races (defined as runs, trail runs, relays, stair climbs, and track meets) and nearly 100 variety runs (novelty runs, obstacle runs, zombie races – something expected to be wildly popular this time of year – as well as running tours, and adventure races) for the weekend preceding Halloween. Many running events used key terms like Halloween, Trick or Treat, Zombie, Ghost and Haunted; however there were also some more creative entries, like the Beer Witch Project in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. You can look forward to seeing plenty of runners in costumes as well – or at least costumes modified for the event.
In 2016, Running USA noted the continued popularity of these events, pointing out, “Halloween race participation continues to thrive despite a decline in total number of events held, as 733,576 runners finished a Halloween week race in 2015, up from 722,237 total finishers in 2014.”
With a nearly two-percent increase in participation year-over-year, Halloween races provided a boost to the overall annual road running finisher decline of nine percent nationwide, according to the Running USA U.S. Race Trends.
“The growth we’ve seen with Halloween races reflects the year-round trend of more runners seeking out events which are truly unique in theme, social and festive,” said Rich Harshbarger, Running USA CEO.
Since tracking began in 2011, Halloween race finisher totals have grown more than 60 percent, rising dramatically from 469,602 finishers in 2011. The finisher tally from 2015 ranks only behind the record total of 758,038 from 2013.
As previously mentioned, despite higher participation numbers, the amount of events decreased for the second straight year, with 1,584 races being staged, down from 1,843 in 2014, which was down from the record number of 2,042 in 2013. (In fact, Running USA has compiled all kinds of statistics over the years; find them here.)
But running isn’t the only event seeking to cash in on Halloween’s popularity. The Halloween Classic Tournament in Anaheim brings the orange to basketball. Virginia hosts the Ghostly Classic in racquetball, and various NFL games, held the weekend preceding the holiday, will encourage fans to come in costume; here is a slideshow of various fans, cheerleaders and more getting into the action.