2021 Goodwill® Halloween Survey Uncovers Trends for the Halloween Season

ROCKVILLE, MD — According to Goodwill’s annual Halloween Survey, three in four Americans (74%) plan to celebrate Halloween this year. The most popular ways people plan to celebrate include giving out candy to trick-or-treaters (41%), wearing a costume or dressing up (34%), decorating their homes (34%) and attending a party (either in-person or virtual) with family/friends (24%).

As many people plan to partake in traditional Halloween activities this year, safety concerns around COVID-19 loom over the season. A majority of Americans (73%) say overall safety concerns due to the pandemic will have some impact on their Halloween plans this year. Most say their plans will be affected a lot (32%) or somewhat (29%), while 12% feel their plans will be impacted a little.

Roughly two-thirds of adults indicate their Halloween plans will be impacted to some extent by concerns with unvaccinated family members, friends or neighbors (67%) and/or the inability of children ages 12 and younger to get vaccinated (65%).

“Halloween is Goodwill’s busiest season as customers embrace do-it-yourself costume and décor shopping at Goodwill stores,” said Onney Crawley, chief marketing officer of Goodwill Industries International. “There are many ways to celebrate Halloween while taking safety precautions during the pandemic. Whatever your plans, Goodwill stores are a one-stop shop with a wide range of Halloween merchandise to fit your needs.”

The Goodwill Halloween Survey also found that Halloween costumes based on pop culture trends or characters from TV, movies, video games or books are the most popular among respondents planning to dress up this year. Twenty-eight percent preferred these kinds of costumes this year, followed by iconic Halloween costumes, such as witches, ghosts, zombies or werewolves (25%), and very unique, one-of-a-kind costumes (24%).

The survey also found that Goodwill stores top the list (88%) of favorite places to shop among those who prefer DIY costumes and look for materials at thrift stores. Two-thirds (66%) of adults who prefer DIY costumes say they or members of their household turn to social media and websites for DIY costume ideas and inspiration. Pinterest (32%) and YouTube (31%) are the top-cited social media platforms, followed by Facebook (22%), Instagram (20%) and TikTok (15%).

For more information and a fact sheet with additional Goodwill Halloween Survey results as well as to explore costume ideas, and DIY décor and makeup tutorials, visit goodwill.org/Halloween.

Charlene Sarmiento
Public Relations Manager
Goodwill Industries International
Mobile (240) 620-7703
[email protected]


Goodwill Industries International is a network of 156 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 12 other countries. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people find employment, Goodwill is recognized with GuideStar’s highest rating, the Platinum Seal of Approval.

Local Goodwill organizations offer employment opportunities, job placement and training services, and other community-based programs, funded by selling donated clothing and household items in nearly 3,300 stores and at shopgoodwill.com®.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit goodwill.org. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl. Register for our Legislative Action Center via advocate.goodwill.org.


Engine Insights, an independent research organization, conducted the 2021 Goodwill Halloween Survey for Goodwill Industries International. The online poll took place from September 8 – 12, 2021, and included a sample size of 2,022 self-selected adults. Responses were weighted by age, gender, geographic region, race and education to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and older. Since 2014, Goodwill and Engine have worked together on Halloween-themed survey research.