How much will Americans spend on jack-o-lanterns this Halloween?

The pumpkin pile is plumping up: Americans are expected to spend $650 million on pumpkins for carving into jack-o-lanterns this Halloween.

And that’s before all the pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin beers and pumpkin pies they’ll consume this fall.

With 46% of Americans expected to be carving pumpkins this Halloween and the average price per pumpkin hitting $4.35 in September, we’ve calculated $650 million will be spent on pumpkins to be hollowed out and placed on doorsteps and porches around the country. Here’s how the total adds up:

Average price of a pumpkin in September 2016$4.35
Percentage of Americans planning to carve pumpkins46%
Number of Americans that totals, as of October 26, 2016149,402,066
Total pumpkin expenditure$649,898,987

Thankfully, there should be enough supply to meet demand for everything pumpkin-related this fall, with pumpkin production up on last year, when diseases, rain and cool temperatures damaged crops.

Overall, Halloween 2016 is expected to be an expensive day with the National Retail Federation predicting the average person celebrating will spend $82.93. Total spending on Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion.

In fact, with $361 million spent on pumpkin-flavored products in the year to July 2015,  Americans spend more on pumpkins they don’t intend to eat than on their favorite pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks!

Jack-o-lantern fun facts
  • In 2015, America produced over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins, half of which were grown in six states – Illinois, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York.
  • 80% of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.
  • Jack-o-lanterns are believed to have originated in Ireland in the 19th century.
  • The world’s largest jack-o-lantern was carved into the Guinness World Records on October 31, 2010, by Scott Cully in Bronx, New York, weighing 1,810.5 pounds (821.23kg).

How can you save money at Halloween?

“Halloween is a fun holiday for people of all ages. But it can quickly become one of the most expensive holidays of the year if you don’t keep your spending on costumes, decorations and parties under check,” advises finder.com’s money expert Michelle Hutchison.

“Before you go shopping, make sure you know how much you can comfortably spend without going into debt that you can’t afford. If you are using a credit card to pay for Halloween, be honest with yourself about whether you will be able to pay the bill before the interest starts accruing. To save money this Halloween, get creative with your costume by using items from around the house to create a one-of-a-kind design and be smart when shopping for decorations by asking yourself whether it’s something you can use again for Halloweens to come.”

How to choose the ideal pumpkin for carving

  • Pay special attention to the stem – look for a green stem that is not brittle. This will tell you how fresh the pumpkin is inside. And to ensure it will fit a candle inside, knock on the outside; if it sounds hollow, it should do the trick.
  • If you want maximum impact on Halloween, don’t start carving your pumpkin until the day before as they are perishable once exposed to air.
  • Use a sharp knife and stencil, and watch some ‘how-to’ videos so you avoid the risk of ruining your pumpkin and having to buy another one.
  • Unfortunately, you won’t want to eat the flesh you carve out of your jack-o’-lantern pumpkin as they are grainier, stringier and contain more water than their smaller counterpart, the pie pumpkin. The seeds will be suitable for roasting though, so make your dollar stretch a little further by putting them aside when you dispose of the flesh.
Picture: Shutterstock

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