Americans get ready to celebrate Halloween

Most Americans are planning to celebrate Halloween, and approximately one in ten plan to celebrate Día de los Muertos.

The author(s)

  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
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October 26 Most Americans are planning to celebrate Halloween, and approximately one in ten plan to celebrate Día de los Muertos. When it comes to specific Halloween activities, Americans are most likely to say they typically decorate their homes, carve pumpkins or watch scary movies.

Speaking of scary movies, approximately two in five Americans say they believe in the supernatural or extraterrestrial activity, such as ghosts and UFOs. However, belief breaks down across genders, with men more likely to believe in the existence of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, and women in ghosts.

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Halloween and Día de los Muertos celebrations:

Belief in the supernatural:

6 in 10 Americans celebrate Halloween

A majority of Americans celebrate Halloween, and 7% also celebrate the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos. This basic picture shifts when race and ethnicity is brought into consideration, however, as one in four Hispanic-identifying Americans say they celebrate Día de los Muertos.

Younger generations are more likely to take part in Halloween celebrations

Three in four Americans under the age of 49 plan to celebrate Halloween or Día de los Muertos this year, while people 50 and above are less likely to.

Across generations, Americans are most likely to decorate their homes to get into the Halloween spirit, followed by carving pumpkins or watching scary movies. Yet younger generations, particularly Gen Z and millennials, are most likely to be planning social Halloween activities, like dressing up in costumes, going to parties or going to a haunted house or corn maze.

Chocolate is America’s favorite type of Halloween candy

When asked to pick their favorite type of Halloween candy, three in five Americans choose chocolate, beating out gummy, sour, hard, and caramel candy by double-digits, Ipsos polling finds.

Majorities of Americans across all age groups prefer chocolate, though the strength of that support varies by age. For example, 65% of people 65 and over choose chocolate as their favorite Halloween candy, while 54% of people under 35 do the same. Younger Americans are also twice as likely to like gummy candy (10% under 35 vs. 5% 65+) and three times as likely to favor sour candy (12% under 35 vs. 4% 65+).

Americans are split around the existence of UFOs and ghosts

Approximately two in five Americans believe in UFOs, ghosts and extra-sensory perception. Fewer, or one in five, believe that spells and witchcraft are real forces at play in the world.

However, the remainder of Americans are not necessarily all closed off to the possibility of the supernatural, with closer to one in four (or one in five, depending on the issue) saying they “don’t know” if these things exist.

Americans are evenly split around the possible reality of UFOs and extra-sensory perception, with approximately one in three coming down firmly against them and one in four expressing doubt about their existence. The public is less open to the possible reality of ghosts – 43% say they do not believe in them while 20% say they do not know. Meanwhile, 60% say they do not believe in spells or witchcraft.

Men are more likely to believe in UFOS; women in ghosts

When it comes to belief in the supernatural or extraterrestrial, men and women aren’t entirely on the same plane. Men are more prone to believe in the existence of UFOS, at 43%, compared to 35% of women. Yet women are more likely to believe in ghosts than men, at 41% and 32% respectively. Women are also more likely to believe in spells and witchcraft at 26%, compared to 15% of men.

Fewer, however, report having seen or been in the presence of a UFO or ghost. At 28%, women are most likely to believe they have seen a ghost, compared to 19% of men. Meanwhile, just one in ten among both genders report having seen a UFO.

The author(s)

  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs

Society