Insight: Trick, or Treat? The 2013 Halloween Index

Tonight, children across America will be out trick-or-treating, a unique activity in that it is one of the only annual events left in our communities that can draw entire neighbourhoods together. For the third year now, along with the Atlantic Cities we have compiled the metros that will provide the best environment for trick or treating this year.

Exhibit 1: Halloween Index – 2013



The Index is made up of five variables that are integral to a successful Halloween: candy stores (per 10 thousand), costume rental stores (per 10 thousand), children aged 5–14 (share of metro population), population density and median income. Once again, the metro with the greatest population density is New York, allowing for the greatest amount of trick or treating per square mile. San Jose remains the metro with the highest median income, and Ocean City, NJ has the greatest amount of candy stores per 10,000 people. Jackson, TN now has the largest amount of costume stores per 10,000 and Provo, UT now has the largest share of kids between five and fourteen.

Exhibit 2: Top 25 best places for Halloween



None of these metros though were found to be the best place to trick-or-treat in America though, as the new metro with the highest Halloween Index is Poughkeepsie, NY. Poughkeepsie scored fairly well on each variable in the Halloween index, but received its highest scores in regards to median household income and costume stores per 10,000. This southern New York state metro is also one of the most densely populated metros in the U.S., with a population density that is much higher than the U.S. metro average. The composition of Poughkeepsie should not only provide children with quality trick-or-treating, but the opportunity to reach a large number of houses over the evening. The other metros within the top ten are: Chicago (last year’s winner); Trenton, NJ; Bridgeport, CT; San Jose, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; Omaha, NE; Honolulu, HI; Denver, CO; and Manchester, NH. The top 25 are presented in Exhibit 2, and once again the metros on the list are primarily a mix of large and medium sized metros.

No matter where you are trick or treating tonight or whether you are a kid or a kid at heart, please be safe and have fun!

Download this Spooky Insight (PDF)

The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto‘s Rotman School of Management is the world’s leading think-tank on the role of sub-national factors — location, place and city-regions — in global economic prosperity. We take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.