Seven in 10 Americans (71.5%) will celebrate Halloween this year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
The figure is up from 68.6% last year, and spend on candy during celebrations is expected to rise too.
The survey found that 96% will buy candy over the period, up 1.5% on last year, taking the total US spend on candy over Halloween to 2.33bn.
Consumers are each expected to spend $24.25 on average over Halloween - $2.20 more than they did last year.
Matthew Hudak, research analyst at Euromonitor International, told Confectionerynews.com that the growth correlated with his organization’s figures.
“There are two main trends that are driving this in my opinion: new/exotic variations on existing brands and an increase willingness by consumers to indulge during holidays.”
He said that new and exotic variations such as White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M’s could prove popular.
Hudak also highlighted Cadbury’s Screme Eggs, a Halloween version of its Crème Egg that uses natural green colors derived from Kiwis to dye the normally yellow fondant "yolk" dark green.
Indulgence trend favors chocolate
He added that consumers were now more inclined to indulge during holidays than they had been at the height of the recession.
“I should note that this lends itself a lot more to chocolate confectionery products than non-chocolate,” he said.
Mars and Hershey
According to Hudak, Mars and Hershey are likeliest to profit because of big brands such as M&M’s, and Snickers for Mars, and Reese’s and Kit Kat for Hershey.
“Mars particularly appears to be embracing more seasonally oriented products and innovation this year,”he said.
Mars’ 2012 Halloween line-up includes M&M's Candy Corn White Chocolate and Snickers Pumpkin.
“Consumers have really come to associate the brands of these companies with the ‘what they are supposed to serve’ and ‘give out’ during Halloween, because increasingly a lot of them grew up eating these same brands when they were kids trick or treating on Halloween,” he continued.
The rise of seasonal sales
In the US, seasonal chocolate sales are projected to climb 6% this year to $1.5bn, according to Euromonitor.
The research organization said in analysis from 2011 that Halloween had been moving beyond its American roots for the past few decades and was now gaining prominence in emerging markets.
Seasonal retail value sales for chocolate
Growth on last year
Middle East and Africa
The biggest growth for seasonal chocolate comes in Latin America where sales are forecast to rise 16% on last year, making it the third most profitable continent for seasonal chocolate worldwide behind North America and Western Europe.
Seasonal chocolate sales are forecast to grow globally in 2012 by 5% compared to last year to $10.7bn with growth in every continent expected.