Halloween's back, but supply chains snarls lurk around every corner

After two years of COVID-era Halloweens that veered away from the spooky and into the downright grim, Canadians are ready to get back to normal for this year’s haunted festivities.

Driving the news: 86% of Canadians will spend more (or the same) on Halloween as last year, and more than half who celebrate will spend at least $50, according to a survey by the Retail Council of Canada.

  • Spending on Halloween fell sharply during the pandemic when trick-or-treating and partygoing was curbed by public health rules, but that trend looks set to reserve this year. 

Rebounding demand for Halloween supplies—candy, costumes, that fake cobweb stuff, and so on—could cause shortages that mirror other issues other supply chains faced earlier in the year. 

  • Retailers will have to make difficult choices about how much inventory to stock without a clear sense of what consumer demand will look like.
  • There have been some early warning signs that supplies could be tight: earlier this year Hershey’s CEO warned it wouldn’t be able to meet Halloween demand for its seasonal products.

Yes, but: Economic conditions have changed quite a bit in the past few months. Recession fears and rising prices could counteract pent-up demand from people eager to celebrate the first normal Halloween in two years. 

Bottom line: Unless you want to be the house handing out Tootsie Rolls (objectively the worst candy), you may want to hit the supermarket for some Halloween treats a week or two early this year.