Top 10 Fright Night facts and figures

Oct. 22, 2012
Read about some Halloween-related statistics from Delta Dental.

Did you know Americans consumed 24.7 pounds of candy per capita in 2010? That’s a lot of sugar to potentially cause cavities if left on the teeth of boys and ghouls too long. After eating candy, Delta Dental recommends a thorough brushing of teeth (or at least a big drink of water).

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Since Halloween is a favorite holiday of many Americans, Delta Dental has compiled a list of the 10 best terrifically terrifying truths:

1. Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween each year.

2. Major pumpkin-producing states like California, Illinois, New York, and Ohio helped America grow 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins in 2010.

3. Sixty percent of dentists polled for Delta Dental’s Tricky Treats survey said they give out candy on Halloween. Of the dentists who dispense candy, 79% choose chocolate, while just 13% hand out varieties such as hard candy or lollipops. This confectionary choice is no accident. Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be eaten easily, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth.

4. Americans spent nearly $6.9 billion on Halloween costumes, decorations, and entertainment.

5. About 50% of Americans decorated their homes or yards, 44% dressed in a costume, 34% attended a Halloween party, and 23% visited a haunted house in 2011.

6. In 2011, the three most popular costumes worn by children were Harry Potter, princess, and Green Lantern. Classic characters like Winnie the Pooh, Elmo, and the Smurfs were also among the top 10 favorites. Captain America, Green Lantern, and Where’s Waldo were popular costume choices for adults.

7. Nearly one out of four dentists said they do not hand out anything on Halloween, while 5% attack the holiday head on by handing out toothbrushes.

8. Not everyone gives out candy on Halloween. Ideas include toothbrushes, pretzels, fruit (such as raisins), modeling clay, and books.

9. An estimated 41 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 went trick-or-treating across the United States in 2010.

10. Candy corn, a popular treat commonly associated with Halloween, was created in the 1880s and popularized by farmers who appreciated its resemblance to kernels of corn.

To view videos and learn more about what dentists give out at Halloween and get their best advice for keeping kids’ teeth healthy, please visit

The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association, based in Oak Brook, Ill., is a leading national network of independent dental service corporations. It provides dental benefits programs to more than 59 million Americans in more than 97,000 employee groups throughout the country.

References available from Delta Dental.