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No tricks, all economic treats this Halloween

October 20, 2021

ASU business expert weighs in on Halloween enthusiasm and the impact it will have on the local economy

The spirit of Halloween is creeping into neighborhoods across the country. This year in particular, there’s not only an appetite for candy and treats, but the opportunity to party like it’s 2019, pre-pandemic. An estimated 65% of Americans are planning to celebrate or participate in Halloween activities, up from 58% last year, according to the National Retail Federation. And Halloween spending is expected to reach an all-time high.

ASU News spoke with Lee McPheters, a research professor of economics and the director at Arizona State University’s JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center in the W. P. Carey School of Business, about the economic impact of this year's spooky season.

Question: After a lackluster Halloween in 2020, Americans are ready to celebrate. What are they willing to spend, and how will this benefit the retail industry and other areas of our economy?

Answer: Halloween’s economic impact is expected to reach an all-time high in 2021, as witches and goblins put the pandemic behind them and spend $10.1 billion on costumes, treats and partying. Total spending will be up by nearly 20% over the $8 billion in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation.

Here in Arizona, economists at the W. P. Carey School of Business estimate the Halloween impact will be $180 million, extending over a two-month period, and generating approximately 5,000 jobs, not only in retail but also in wholesale and transportation of products for sale. Spending per person is estimated at $103 for the 65% who said they intended to celebrate in some way. In 2020, only 58% said they would celebrate Halloween.

Q: How many people are expected to dress up this Halloween, and what are this year’s costume trends?

A: According to national surveys, 46% of those celebrating will wear a costume or part of a costume, and a surprising 20% of people intend to buy a costume for their pets. Among children, the most frequently mentioned costumes this year are the ever-popular princesses for girls and Spider-Man for boys. For adults, the top costumes planned are witches and vampires. For pets, the most popular costume is a pumpkin.  

Q: How much money will people spend on Halloween essentials?

A: Costume spending, the single largest component of Halloween expenditures, is projected to climb to $3.2 billion at the national level, up from $2.6 billion in 2020.  

For Arizona, analysts estimate costume spending of $60 million, decorations $57 million, candy $54 million and greeting cards $11 million.

Top photo courtesy of

Jimena Garrison

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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ASU celebrates return of Homecoming festivities

October 20, 2021

A time-honored tradition at Arizona State University, Homecoming is back this fall after a pandemic pause, bringing together students, parents, alumni and the ASU community to celebrate their Sun Devil spirit.

The university will celebrate Homecoming this year with multiple events Oct. 24–30, culminating in a football game against Washington State at noon Oct. 30.

“During the seven days that mark Homecoming, students can expect a week full of celebrations on every campus,” said Sage Vu, student Homecoming director.

Vu says some of the week’s highlights for students include:

“After a year, (the Programming and Activities Board) is excited to be celebrating Homecoming once again,” Vu said. “It has been exciting to plan these events that will engage two full groups of students (first- and second-year students) that have never had the opportunity to participate in Homecoming before.”   

Learn more about some of this year’s signature activities:

Legends Luncheon

Friday, Oct. 29

ASU vs. Nebraska game Sept. 21, 1996

During the ASU vs. Nebraska game Sept. 21, 1996, the Sun Devils dominated the No. 1-ranked and two-time defending national champions Cornhuskers with a 19-0 shutout.

The ASU Alumni Association and the Sun Devil Club will celebrate the silver anniversary of the 1996–97 Sun Devil Football Pac-10 Champions at the Oct. 29 Legends Luncheon. Key players including Jake “The Snake” Plummer, Derrick Rodgers, Juan Roque and Keith Poole led the team to an 11-0 regular season and a trip to the Rose Bowl.

While the event is sold out, you can see these players in person as they lead the Homecoming Parade down University Drive. After the parade, stop by their booth on Old Main Lawn at the Homecoming Block Party as the players will be signing autographs for fans.

Sparky’s Pep Rally

4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29

zoom screen with four participants

Joe Healey and Rob Reyes host guests on Sparky's Pep Rally.

The day before the game, tune in online to Sparky’s Pep Rally. Hear commentary on the week’s opponent from Sun Devil advocates Joe Healey, “Speak of the Devils” co-host, and Rob Reyes, known as “Jedi ASU.” Other virtual festivities include guest appearances from former athletes and coaches, giveaways and special performances.

Lantern Walk

6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29

Sparky in front of a lit up A on A Mountain

Sparky celebrates as he lights the "A" of "A" Mountain during the Lantern Walk. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News

Lantern Walk remains one of ASU's oldest and most treasured traditions. It was first celebrated in 1917. Each year students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends climb to the top of "A" Mountain carrying lanterns to light up Tempe, following in the footsteps of their Sun Devil ancestors.

Lantern Walk will take place on Oct. 29, and begins at the base of Tempe Butte (“A” Mountain) with a DJ at 6:30 p.m. The hike up “A” Mountain will begin at 7 p.m. Homecoming royalty will be crowned at the top of the mountain, where activities will also include brief remarks from student leaders and Sparky’s lighting up the “A.”

Sparky’s Touchdown Tailgate

9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 30 (continues all day)

family tailgating

Photo by ASU

Amp up for kickoff just steps from Sun Devil Stadium with the premier pregame experience for ASU fans. Show up for the live entertainment, food trucks, a beer garden, giveaways and a special appearance by Sparky. This event is free and open to the public. 

Homecoming Parade

9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 30

Child watching homecoming float in the parade

A child waves at parade participants during the 2018 ASU Homecoming Parade. Photo by Marcus Chormicle/ASU News

The ASU Homecoming Parade is one of the biggest and longest-running traditions. Student organization floats, the ASU Marching Band, colleges, departments, community organizations and local celebrities are all a part of this great tradition.

The parade takes place on University Drive between Forest Avenue and McAllister Avenue

Homecoming Block Party

9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 30

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Andrew Montalvo holds a gopher snake at the Department of Animal Care and Technologies booth during the 2018 Homecoming Block Party. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

The ASU Homecoming Block Party is a festival-type event that is free and open to the public. It boasts a 14-acre footprint with more than 100 tents from ASU’s colleges, units and departments featuring hands-on activities for the whole family, prizes and swag. It starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 30 and runs until game time (noon).

Football game

cheerleader at ASU Homecoming game

Sun Devil Spirit Squad member Tatum Buck cheers on the Devils at a 2015 ASU Homecoming football game. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

The biggest highlight is the Homecoming game, where the Sun Devils will take on the Washington State Cougars at Sun Devil Stadium at noon Oct. 30.

Purchase game tickets

Note: Homecoming events will follow all COVID-19 safety measures put forth by ASU. Learn more at

Top photo: Zakiya Reid flashes a pitchfork as she and her family watch the Homecoming Parade along University Drive in November 2018. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News