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41 Million Trick or Treaters will be out this Halloween - Got Candy?

Monday, October 01, 2012 by Tom Zulanas

Scary Halloween Jack-O-LaternIf you are old enough to remember the Peanuts Halloween cartoon - kids running to Trick or Treat ...and they'd ask each other: What did you get? ...and Charlie Brown kept answering: "I got a Rock!" ...it all made me laugh and smile. 

Halloween brings out ALL of the Kids; in many different costumes; from princesses to ghouls & skeletons ...and then there are a number of scary stories, films and sounds that fill the air, letting a child's imagination run wild as Mummies, Count Dracula, Frankenstein bump into Super-heros, aliens, pop-singers and other celebrities.

Based on the US Census Bureau - there is over 41 Million Tricker or Treaters (kids between the ages of 5-15 years old).  ...so, the question becomes: Did you BUY enough Candy?

Yes, it is a scary thought of October ...and everyone knows the BIG Holiday is Halloween for both, kids AND adults.  Can you imagine that: Adults celebrate Halloween almost as much as the little kids (..or, you might say, some people never grow up - just ask Peter Pan).

Anyway, Halloween is one of those holidays that crosses over the generation boundaries ...where each person can be what-ever they wanted.  Whether that is a super-hero, an Olympic athlete, a princess, or scary villians, monsters (ie Frankenstein, Mummy); and it doesn't need to cost much to make believe.  Some creative people even get into the Pop-culture: costumes of Presidents (i.e. Nixon, Carter, Clinton, Bush, or Obama) or other political figures (i.e. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reed, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachman, or Sarah Palin); or celebrities (i.e. Brittany Spears, Donald Trump, Progressive Insurance's Flo, Lindsay Lohan, etc.). All of this fun is experienced in just a couple of hours - usually dusk until 8pm-9pm ...or, if you're an adult, it could go much longer for any of the costume parties.

Of course, since Halloween falls just before the Presidential Election this year ...it is a marketing opportunity we'd suggestion for your business to take full advantage of.  I mean to say, the media planets are aligning for you to show-case & leverage your SMM, mixing the two events with your product for SEO purposes.

One gut measurement for how big Halloween is ...is seeing how early grocery stores put out the decorations before the holiday.  As of today (Oct 1) ALL of the Denver grocery stores I've been at: King Soopers, Albertsons, Safeway have had their Halloween displays up for the past month - which would make Halloween displays being up for 8-10 weeks before the Oct 31 celebration.

I know I'm not a grocery store general manager ...but bet they'll have their Christmas stuff up before Oct. 31st ...(of course we know) making Christmas the #1 Holiday not only for grocery stores, but just about ALL retail stores.  So, would you believe Halloween ranks up there with July 4th (and ahead of Labor Day & Memorial Day)?

What Candy do you BUY for Halloween? 

With the economy the way it is, my wife and I were calculating the cost per piece as we walked throughMixed Halloween Candy Sam's Club the other day.  We had approximately 8 different options.  As we looked at the big plastic jar of Bat Pretzels - 70 pieces for $7.00 ...it is easy math to show it's $0.10/piece.  There were other bags of mixed chocolates, that included KitKat bars, Tootsie Rolls, Almond Joy, Reese's, M&M's, etc. ...some had it 102 pieces for approx $10 (and others 120 pieces for $12 per bag) ...again, easy math to figure the cost is $0.10/piece.  

I was surprised, since I just watched the other night, the movie: Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ...the bag of Willie Wonka mixed candies came out the least expensive being $0.03 ...and a different mixed bag of no name brand candy costing $0.07 per piece.  

Since, I didn't recognize most of the candy names; I've got no loyalty to any package.  The M&M's, or Reese's, Tootsie Rolls - brands that I grew up with were $0.10/piece or higher ...for a small little bite.  (and here, I may date myself) Back when I was a kid - I could get a BIG Candy Bar for $0.10 ...sure, that's not Today!

Do you Give LOTS or a little?

Depending on who in your house is taking the kids, the other (me) is responsible for handing out the Candy to all of the Trick or Treaters! ...and the kids all love the Candy.

But, I'm constantly facing how much to give each little tike?  What do you think of one, two, three or a big fist-full of stuff?  If the cost were $0.10 each - giving out 5 or 10 pieces in my fist-full ...it was like I was made out of money (especially when we were on a budget and tight our finances).  Of course, our neighborhood was great - somehow, we'd have just enough for everyone until 8:30pm-9pm.  My better half said, the signal is turn off the lights out-side when we're all out. (okay, I now have the memo). 

In 2010, Americans consumed 24.7 pounds of candy per year.  Our dentist had promised to buy the halloween candy from my kids every year as they grew up in Denver.  Of course, I thought about helping my kids out too; by asking for a piece of candy to share with me as we traveled to the various neighborhood houses ...I'd hear them say: "hey, wait a minute!"

Precious memories they were.  But now, I'm facing the other issue, what happens if I am stuck with the rest of this candy? ...you mean, I might have to eat the rest this candy?

My mind is then racing on the sugar, calories ...and the best I quickly come up with: Forget about the price/cost. I better get something I LIKE if I get stuck with any of it.  (...as a marketing guy, that's the mindset I'd like to have in my customers too - Impulse BUY).  Let me think about my options again.

Of course, like Charlie Brown - I could get and hand out some Rocks. ...thinking, I might be preventing cavaties, obesity, and offering a healthier Halloween alternative.  On second thought, I might get stuck with a LOT of Rocks.  Another thought - worse, the Rocks might ALL come back in other ways (especially as the kids get older)!  Guess, we better stick with buying some of my Favorite Brands: M&M's, Tootsie Rolls, Reese's, etc.  ...and keep Smiling!!

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