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The cost of candy is up a scary 13% just in time for Halloween

Halloween candy — and sweets of all kinds — are much more expensive now than they were last year.
Robert F. Bukaty
Halloween candy — and sweets of all kinds — are much more expensive now than they were last year.

Halloween candy is getting a little scarier this year – about 13% scarier.

Those who prefer treat over trick will be paying 13.1% more than last year, according to the most recent inflation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It's the largest yearly jump in candy prices the CPI has ever recorded. (For comparison, it took nine years — from 1997 to 2006 — for candy prices to rise 13%.)

And the price of candy (along with chewing gum, which is in the same category) has risen 2% since August, one of the largest monthly increases of any food in the report.

Sweets of all kinds are costlier than last year, driven by major increases in the prices of sugar and flour. Sugar is up over 17% since last September. Supply chain disruptions and a poor beet sugar production year have all helped contribute. Flour prices have risen even more at 24%.

That's helped drive up the costs of cakes, cupcakes and cookies by 16% since last September. Frozen and refrigerated baked goods are up more than 20%.

Americans collectively are expected to spend about $3.1 billion on candy this season, according to the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group.

On a $15 bag of assorted Halloween-sized candies, a 13% increase comes out to about $2.

Costumes, too, may feel more expensive than usual.

While the CPI report does not specifically track costumes, the price of clothing has jumped 5.5% since last year. Those crafty enough to make handmade costumes will feel the pinch even more: Sewing machines, fabric and supplies are up 11% since last September.

Inflation overall has remained stubbornly high. Prices rose 8.2% for the 12 months ending in September, down slightly from last month but still much higher than the Federal Reserve's target of 2%.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Becky Sullivan has reported and produced for NPR since 2011 with a focus on hard news and breaking stories. She has been on the ground to cover natural disasters, disease outbreaks, elections and protests, delivering stories to both broadcast and digital platforms.