We’re All Huge Halloween Procrastinators

Rite Aid has pulled off our masks and revealed us for what we are: people who buy candy at the last minute.

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Halloween candy, mask, and costume display at convenience store
Photo: Sorbis (Shutterstock)

“We’re on to you!”

So says the text above a revealing new infographic from Rite Aid that shares insights into our candy buying habits. What are they on to, exactly? The fact that we don’t buy our candy until the very last minute? Sorry, trick-or-treaters. At least we get there eventually.

According to the data, which was derived from analysis of Rite Aid’s candy sales and other Halloween-related sales between October 1-31, 2021, 45% of people don’t buy their candy until the week before Halloween. And within that week, there’s a steady daily uptick of candy buying leading up to the big day. A majority of the purchases happen the day before Halloween.

Chocolate candy reigns supreme on Halloween

When we do finally buy our trick-or-treat candy, we opt for chocolate products more than fruity and/or gummy ones. Two-thirds of candy purchases last year involved chocolate, with M&M’s, Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins, and Milky Way being the most popular Rite Aid purchases in the Halloween candy category. For the minority who opted for fruit-flavored sugary bliss, the top contenders were Skittles, Tootsie Pops, and HARIBO Trick-or-Treat Gummies.

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To put candy sales into relatable terms, Rite Aid picked a giant, immovable object to illustrate just how much candy we buy. In this case, the Statue of Liberty. In 2021, we the people bought 2.8 million pounds of candy at Rite Aid —the equivalent of six Statues of Liberty. (And that’s at Rite Aid alone; when you factor in our candy runs to Target, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and the like, the figure becomes unfathomably large.)

Candy corn holds its own

As much as it might horrify you to hear it, we also bought plenty of candy corn. In 2021 Rite Aid sold 138,000 pounds of the little triangles of delight (or doom). If you were to take those bags and lay them down end-to-end, they’d span “almost the entire length of California,” according to Rite Aid. This is very instructive for the candy corn haters out there, who could just as easily nudge those bags right into the Pacific Ocean.

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As someone who personally received a good-natured but scathing look from a drugstore employee when I bought candy, a mask, and cat ears on Halloween last year, I feel seen by this data. And while I’d like to say I’ll take this as a challenge and buy my candy more than a week out, let’s be real—I won’t. And now I know I won’t be alone. See you in the candy aisle, I guess!