Gen Z takes Halloween parties much more seriously than millennials

NEW YORK — Generation Z doesn’t mess around when it comes to Halloween parties. A survey of 1,000 Gen Z and 1,000 millennials who celebrate Halloween reveals that between the scares and the snacks, 42 percent of Gen Zers take these gatherings “very seriously,” compared to 34 percent of millennials.

Overall, the top three elements for a great Halloween party include costumes (63%), food (61%), and decorations (50%). When selecting a costume, respondents weigh if it needs to coordinate with group costumes (52%), if others will understand it (51%), and whether or not the food will mess up their makeup or face paint (46%).

Two-thirds (67%) of Gen Z are looking for candy, compared to only 43 percent of millennials. In fact, over half of Gen Zers put a lot of their effort into curating the perfect candy bowl

Almost two-thirds (62%) of all respondents would be disappointed if they attended a Halloween party that didn’t have candy, though Gen Zers are more likely to be “very disappointed” than millennials (30% vs 20%).

infographic showing top three elements of a great Halloween party according to new poll.
(Credit: SWNS)

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of HI-CHEW, results also reveal that respondents are hoping to snack on fruity (61%), chewy (59%), and chocolatey candy (57%) the most. 

Respondents also hope to snack on themed treats like “bloody” fruit punch (60%) or candy apples (54%). In addition, decorations are especially important to Gen Z, as 61 percent believe they can make or break the event, compared to only 40 percent of millennials.

Respondents hope to see skeletons (63%), witches (59%), cobwebs and fake spiders (59%), Jack O’Lanterns (57%), and bats (57%) at every turn. Black cats (27%) and candles (25%) are considered outdated decor.

Millennials are bored of haunted houses (26%) and cobwebs (22%), and 16 percent of Gen Z share the same sentiment about witches. However, two in five (38%) Gen Zers reported that no decorations are better left in the past compared to only 15 percent of millennials. 

“Candy and snacks are essential when hosting Halloween parties. Attendees have shown that candy and snacks are an important factor,” says spokesperson Teruhiro Kawabe, chief representative for the USA & President, CEO of Morinaga America, Inc., in a statement. “Whether your guests prefer fruity and chewy or bite-size and chocolate, the choice of candy can make or break your gathering.”

A little more than two in five (41%) admit that ruining their costume or makeup can cause them to head home early. Two-thirds of respondents believe that they have what it takes to win a costume contest — and another 70 percent say that it is imperative their costume remains perfect for the duration of the party.

In fact, most respondents will go so far as to include touch-ups throughout the event (57%) and even avoid eating messy foods (52%). If someone else is sporting the same costume, one-quarter of respondents are likely to make a joke about it. On the other hand, another 22 percent admit they’d be upset about it, especially if the other person wore the costume better.

Millennials are more likely to be embarrassed about wearing the same costume (12% vs 9%). However, Gen Z seems to buy into the idea that imitation is a form of flattery and would take it as a compliment (19% vs. 5%).

When asked the best costume they’ve ever worn or seen, respondents listed things like, “a rat with a bucket of cheese,” “an evil mermaid,” and even “a gallon of chocolate milk.”

“What’s Halloween without the perfect costume?” proposes Kawabe. “When attending a Halloween party, it’s important to consider how the costume will compliment your experience – if you need to eat mess-free snacks, if it is unique, or if you’re going with a group.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 1,000 Gen Z and 1,000 millennials who celebrate Halloween was commissioned by HI-CHEW between September 8 and September 23, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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