Thought Halloween was just a holiday for younger children and tweens? Think again. In relatively short order, Halloween has fast become one of the events of the year for the college crowd complete with costume parties and socials, contests, and even fundraising drives. Ultimately, it’s a well-timed mid-semester break for students to step out of their respective shells and test the boundaries of acceptable attire. Without question, there will be plenty of costumes worn by students this weekend that will most definitely cross the line from being perceived as humorous to at least somewhat offensive by some.
Perhaps the most impactful part of Halloween among college students is the actual duration of associated activities. Although technically Halloween is just a one-day holiday for the masses, an increasing number of college students are turning the holiday into a multi-day affair. From our perspective, it’s akin to the Spring Break period whereby students have what they perceive to be a solid excuse to have a really good time for a prolonged period.
There are several different ways marketers can tap into and leverage the Halloween spirit among college students, be it a sponsored costume party or a cause-related effort. If nothing else, it’s certainly an interesting time of year to engage the audience.
When all is said and done, nearly eight in ten panelists said they plan on dressing up for Halloween this year, compared to about three in four last year. The most popular costume ideas mentioned by students this year include: pop stars Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, the new royal power couple of Prince William and Kate, a ballet star inspired by the movie “Black Swan,” a character from the super popular Angry Birds game franchise and any character from the reality TV series hit “Jersey Shore.”
Overall, students say they will spend an average of $71 on costumes, make-up, decorations and candy for Halloween this year. Beyond dressing up, a record number of college students plan to participate in variety of Halloween-related activities throughout the weekend:
- 83% plan to attend at least one Halloween theme party
- 78% plan to be in costume for at least one Halloween-related event or party
- 55% plan to attend a Halloween theme party hosted by a local club or bar
- 45% plan to participate in a Halloween costume contest
- 44% plan to attend multiple Halloween theme parties
- 39% say Halloween is their favorite holiday of the year
- 36% plan to attend a Halloween theme party hosted by a fraternity or sorority