Less Than Half of Americans Believe Ghosts Are Real

Vast majority of parents eat their child's Halloween candy

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Jinhee Yi Account Manager, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, October 25, 2019 — As Halloween approaches, Ipsos’s latest poll looks at American perceptions about the holiday. Seven in 10 Americans say that they celebrate Halloween (70%), and this number is even higher among parents with children in their household (91%), Democrats (73%) and Independents (73%). Not surprisingly, the vast majority of parents say that they eat their children’s Halloween candy (88%). A third believe there is no age limit for trick or treating (32%) and this is especially true among Independents and people who celebrate Halloween (39% and 37% respectively).

With respect to horror villains, around 1 in 5 Americans consider Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre to be the scariest (22%) followed closely by Jason from Friday the 13th (20%). If they were trapped in a horror movie, a quarter of Americans say they would want Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) from Alien to protect them (24%). Democrats and Independents are more likely to say they would like Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) from Stranger Things to protect them (26% and 24% respectively) than Republicans (13%). Almost half of Americans believe that ghosts are real (46%), and a third believe that aliens visit earth (32%), while only a small amount believe in vampires (7%) and zombies (6%).

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 24-25, 2019. For this survey, a sample of roughly 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 377 Republicans, 403 Democrats, 127 Independents, 680 Halloween celebrators, and 237 parents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).
The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.8 percentage points for Republicans, plus or minus 5.6 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 9.9 percentage points for Independents, plus or minus 4.3 percentage points for Halloween celebrators and plus or minus 7.3 percentage points for parents.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Chris Jackson
Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.
Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).
ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Jinhee Yi Account Manager, US, Public Affairs