Nearly two-thirds of adults will find creative, fun and safe ways to celebrate Halloween this year, according to new research from the National Confectioners Association (NCA) and Morning Consult.

Americans are looking forward to Halloween to add some normalcy and joy to what has been a very serious and uncertain time. In a poll conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of NCA, 74 percent of Millennial moms and young parents say Halloween is more important than ever this year. 

“Consumers report that they will be getting creative throughout the month of October to make sure that they can stay safe and still enjoy the Halloween season,” said John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association. “The results of our research reveal a deeply rooted enthusiasm for Halloween, even if it means that people have to rethink their approach this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to The Harris Poll’s research, a majority of respondents say they can’t imagine Halloween without chocolate and candy, considering trick-or-treating as irreplaceable – that includes 80 percent of the general public and 90 percent of Millennial moms and young parents. And according to an independent survey from Insight to Action, 70 percent of moms plan to celebrate the Halloween season with their children this year.

“There will be regional differences across the country in terms of how communities choose to celebrate the Halloween season, but one thing is for sure – Halloween is happening,” Downs said. “As we look to our leaders in public health across the country for safety guidance, we want to share what we know about how people are approaching the Halloween season.”

The Harris Poll’s research found 75 percent of Americans and 91 percent of Millennial moms and young parents agree that chocolate and candy are integral to consumers’ emotional well-being and play a big role in celebrations, especially Halloween.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, people in the U.S. enjoy chocolate and candy 2-3 times per week, averaging about 40 calories per day and just one teaspoon of added sugar per day – and that includes Halloween. 

The Halloween season (i.e., the eight weeks leading up to Oct. 31) accounts for about $4.6 billion in confectionery sales each year, and a 2020 NCA market analysis shows chocolate sales are up about 4.5 percent since the middle of March 2020, as compared to 2.2 percent growth for all of 2019. 

“Chocolate and candy have been very resilient in this COVID-19 environment,” Downs said. “Consumers appreciate and value chocolate and candy during these uncertain times because of their uncanny ability to boost your mood and lighten your perspective.”

The Morning Consult poll was conducted from July 24-26, 2020, among a national sample of 2,200 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

The Harris Poll survey was conducted from June 16-24, 2020, among a national sample of 1,000 adults, with oversamples of 200 Gen Z, 200 Millennial moms/young parents and 400 opinion elites. The interviews were conducted online.