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There's no trick to how Halloween treats move across America

Friday, October 30, 2020

Those practicing safe trick-or-treating this year have good reason to be excited this Halloween. According to, a candy retailer with close ties to candy manufacturers and distributors, the drop in door-to-door activity caused by COVID-19 is expected to be around 20%, which is significantly greater than the 11% anticipated drop in Halloween candy sales. When you stir the cauldron, that’s a brew for a lot more candy per costumed child.

It’s also good news for the truck drivers, ships, rail operators, and air cargo folks responsible for getting the candy into Americans’ bowls, baskets, and plastic pumpkins.

Note: Candy is defined for this data spotlight by commodity category 076 in the Commodity Flow Survey, which includes sugar confectionery and chocolate confectionery; cocoa beans, paste, butter, and powder; and cocoa preparations such as instant chocolate.

How much transportation is involved in moving candy from state to state?

According to the most recent Commodity Flow Survey (conducted in 2017), a comprehensive multimodal picture of national freight flows conducted every 5 years, the average shipment of candy in the U.S. travels about 900 miles between origin and destination. Those shipments were valued at more than $36 billion for all of 2017, and anticipates Halloween-specific candy spending this year alone will total $2.4 billion.

Is your state shipping a lot of candy?

If you live in New Jersey, you’ll be proud to know that the Garden State ships $5.7 billion in candy annually, followed by Pennsylvania (5.2B), Illinois (3.7B), California (3.1B), and Tennessee (3B).

Candy made in Hawaii is going places!

As expected because of its unique geography, Hawaii leads the nation in average candy shipment distance. Hawaiian candy, such as chocolate covered macadamia nuts, can be expected to travel an average of more than 1,800 miles.  In the continental U.S., Oregon is next at 1,470 miles. On the other end, candy shipped from West Virginia travels an average of only about 30 miles.

Are we saving any candy for our neighbors?

The CFS reports that $807 million in candy shipped leaves the country. More than $500 million of that travels by truck.

Explore the data

To dive further into information about freight movement, please visit the Commodity Flow Survey; Freight Facts & Figures; Transborder Freight Data, and the Freight Analysis Framework.