Children across the globe will be handed out sweets and chocolates as they carry out the US tradition knocking on doors and calling "trick or treat", making the Halloween holiday one of the most important trading periods for confectionery companies. "There's no doubt about it, when doorbells ring on October 31, consumers respond with candy, and lots of it," said Todd Hale, senior vice president at Neilsen, who compiled the report. According to Hale, US sales of chocolate and sweets, or "candy", are expected to increase 63 per cent compared to the previous ten weeks. "Nielsen's data shows that 29 October and 15 April, the day before Easter Sunday, were the top two days in terms of dollar sales last year, but Halloween also ranks in the top ten," he added. Consumers seem to prefer smaller treats to hand out to the children that knock on the front door, as the greatest increases in volume sales are in the miniature confectionery category. The category of smaller chocolate bars and sweet packets generated 39 per cent of its annual sales during the Halloween season in 2006, Hale said, while the overall confectionery candy generated 22 per cent of annual sales over the same period. Not surprising, seasonal confectionery demonstrating a spooky or scary theme is also very popular at this time, with 28 per cent of lollipops sold during Halloween featuring images of "scary" characters such as witches and ghosts. "For retailers and manufacturers, Halloween is a concentrated selling period for seasonal items, and our research shows consumers putting a strong showing at the cash register," Hale said.