Best Cities for Halloween Parties

Studies
Best Cities for Halloween Parties

Halloween is the second-most expensive holiday, after Christmas, with Americans this year estimated to spend an average of $77.52 per person. More than two-thirds (67.4%) of consumers will buy costumes to celebrate, says the National Retail Federation, and 14.3% will dress up their pets. Add it all up, and in the run-up to Oct. 31, Americans are expected to spend a whopping $7.4 billion.

Consumers invest a lot of time and money in this holiday and have high expectations to match, but some cities are more conducive to Halloween celebrations than others.

NerdWallet partnered with Eventbrite, an online marketplace for events where you can find everything from Halloween haunted houses and costume parties to turkey trots and charity events in your area, and examined the following factors.

  1. Are other people going to Halloween parties? We assigned each city an engagement score of 1-10 based on how many people already bought tickets for a Halloween event. A score of 10 designates a city where more than 20,000 people purchased Halloween event tickets as of Oct. 8, 2014.
  2. Are Halloween parties in your budget? We included the average price paid per ticket.

Trends and Takeaways

  • It pays to travel. Cities only a few miles apart can have vastly different ticket prices. Miami’s tickets (averaging $24) are less than a quarter the cost of tickets in nearby Miami Beach (over $100). San Francisco’s average is $29, compared to $56 in Oakland. Boston’s average is $24, compared to $10 in nearby Cambridge. And Los Angeles residents can save $10 by checking out Santa Monica.
  • Money can’t buy a good party. More-expensive tickets correlated with lower engagement scores. While party hosts are getting more money per ticket, they may be losing customers due to high prices.
  • Parties in the ‘burbs. The most expensive cities for Halloween parties tended to be affluent small cities and suburbs of big cities, such as Evanston, Illinois, outside Chicago.

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The 50 Best Cities for Halloween Parties

Rank City State Engagement score Price per ticket Overall score for Halloween parties
1 San Francisco CA 10 $29.49 96.14
2 New York NY 9 $22.87 92.15
3 San Antonio TX 9 $23.48 92.06
4 Phoenix AZ 9 $29.21 91.18
5 Charlotte NC 8 $18.88 87.76
6 Los Angeles CA 8 $24.49 86.90
7 Chicago IL 8 $30.53 85.98
8 Nashville TN 7 $12.11 83.79
9 Arlington VA 7 $12.15 83.79
10 Riverside CA 7 $12.86 83.68
11 San Diego CA 7 $16.64 83.10
12 Minneapolis MN 7 $17.26 83.01
13 McAllen TX 7 $22.13 82.26
14 Indianapolis IN 7 $23.32 82.08
15 Atlanta GA 7 $23.62 82.03
16 Boston MA 7 $23.87 82.00
17 Washington DC 7 $25.64 81.73
18 Houston TX 7 $27.80 81.40
19 Austin TX 7 $34.76 80.33
20 Staunton VA 6 $6.10 79.71
21 Dallas TX 7 $40.02 79.53
22 Cambridge MA 6 $9.94 79.12
23 Denver CO 7 $43.49 79.00
24 Kansas City MO 6 $10.78 79.00
25 New Brunswick NJ 6 $12.11 78.79
26 Santa Monica CA 6 $14.44 78.44
27 New Orleans LA 7 $47.30 78.42
28 Providence RI 6 $14.66 78.40
29 St Louis MO 6 $14.74 78.39
30 Ellicott City MD 6 $14.75 78.39
31 Philadelphia PA 6 $15.34 78.30
32 Pittsburgh PA 6 $16.48 78.12
33 Sacramento CA 6 $19.63 77.64
34 Miami FL 6 $24.03 76.97
35 Scottsdale AZ 6 $28.98 76.22
36 Santa Cruz CA 6 $32.10 75.74
37 San Jose CA 6 $32.29 75.71
38 Columbus OH 6 $33.37 75.55
39 Boulder CO 5 $4.31 74.98
40 Sturgeon Bay WI 5 $5.00 74.88
41 Goleta CA 5 $5.78 74.76
42 Flagstaff AZ 5 $6.22 74.69
43 Milwaukee WI 5 $6.70 74.62
44 Portland OR 5 $7.38 74.52
45 College Station TX 5 $7.38 74.51
46 Durham NC 5 $7.53 74.49
47 Elkridge MD 5 $8.40 74.36
48 Woodstock GA 5 $8.51 74.34
49 West Hollywood CA 6 $41.27 74.34
50 Palm Springs FL 5 $9.52 74.19

Data collected for the 409 cities that have Halloween events listed on Eventbrite as of Oct. 8, 2014.

What are the most expensive cities for Halloween parties?

We found that the most expensive cities for Halloween parties tended to be affluent small cities and suburbs of big cities. Cities with more expensive tickets also had lower engagement scores, indicating that the higher-priced tickets aren’t being bought at the same rate as lower-priced tickets. Here’s the top 10:

Rank City State Price per ticket
1 Palm Springs CA $331.55
2 Spring TX $197.32
3 Chantilly VA $117.13
4 Evanston IL $114.49
5 Campbell CA $108.67
6 Miami Beach FL $100.31
7 East Hanover NJ $95.92
8 Lake Charles LA $80.00
9 Garner NC $79.80
10 Culver City CA $68.09

Data collected for more than 250 cities that sold over 25 tickets as of Oct. 8, 2014.

So what are the cheapest cities for Halloween parties?

The cheapest cities for Halloween parties tended to be in the Southwest and Midwest, both areas known for their low cost of living. There were a few exceptions, though, including Honolulu.

Rank City State Price per ticket
1 Boulder CO $4.31
2 Pleasantville NY $4.94
3 Sturgeon Bay WI $5.00
4 Mt Joy PA $5.00
5 Honolulu HI $5.09
6 Goleta CA $5.78
7 Jackson NJ $5.86
8 Staunton VA $6.10
9 Flagstaff AZ $6.22
10 Hanna City IL $6.57

Data collected for more than 250 cities that sold over 25 tickets as of Oct. 8, 2014.

Are you late to the party?

Tickets sales spike on Oct. 11, but you still have time to get tickets before Oct. 31, so go pick up a costume for you and your dog. It’s not too late to check out Halloween parties in your city.


Jack-o’-lantern image via Shutterstock. Infographic by Brian Yee.