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The Economic Power of Fear

Fear is powerful, and it’s big business, especially in October. Each year millions of average U.S. consumers spend billions of dollars just to be afraid. This is despite the fact that consumer debt levels are well over 11 trillion and many people continue to struggle with more debt than they are able to handle. Yet fear seems to be worth the price.

Halloween Spending


Year after year, U.S. consumers spend more and more on Halloween. In fact, Halloween spending has increased 54.7 percent since 2005 despite the fact spending was slightly down earlier in 2013. With total Halloween spending projected at $6.9 billion, retailers don’t have to be afraid at all.

On an individual basis, the 158 million consumers who participate in Halloween are expected to spend an average of $75 per person, which is down from the nearly $80 per person spent last year, but still higher than most would expect. And candy sales? They’re always up this time of year.

Spooky Theme Parks

Theme parks have gladly adapted to the Halloween mood. In fact, most major and minor theme parks have major events designed for the sole purpose of scaring its customers (and making profit). Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights have become one of the most profitable events Universal Studios puts on. Rival Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt attempts to outrank Universal and earn the distinction as the top horror attraction. Other rivals include Busch Gardens, Disney and many more.

The most frightening aspect of all these? Ticket prices range from $38 to almost $100, just for one night (Not to mention parking fees, concessions and everything else!)

Haunted Houses


Haunted houses represent a step down from the full and professional productions put on by the large theme parks, yet they remain a staple for many people to experience fear. An estimated 1,200 haunted house attractions are scattered across the country earning an estimated $300 to $500 million every year. These numbers do not count small community or local haunted houses.

Horror Movies

For those who don’t want to attend large public events, the old-fashioned horror movie remains another staple of the season, and boon for Hollywood producers.

2013 represented a great year for the horror movie industry, particularly for zombies. Top zombie thriller World War Z earned more than $200 million in the United States and more than $337 million globally. Other frightening thrillers included The Conjuring ($137,163,051), Insidious 2 ($74,773,153), Mama ($71,628,180) and Evil Dead ($54,239,856).



While professionally (and sometime amateur) produced thrills are enough for most, a related industry caters to those who want a greater experience. These companies offer everything from zip lining to skydiving. For those with large budgets (up to $100,000) and great health, nothing beats at climb up Mount Everest. Skydiving represents a more affordable option, with prices typically no more than $200. However, for a truly bizarre experience, Extreme Kidnapping can be purchased for as little as $1,500.

Are you afraid yet? Click below and view the full infographic or return to the infographic homepage and read about the world’s richest criminals or why you should celebrate Labor Day!


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