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AP Study: What’s Alabama’s favorite Halloween decoration?


Skeletons? Jack-O-Lanterns? Tombstones? A study sponsored by the Associated Press looks at the most popular Halloween decorations around the U.S., including Alabama.

As many as 82% of households in the United States decorate for Halloween, according to a recent poll from Lombardo Homes. The study also reports about 41% of those households have their decorations up during the first week of October.

As U.S. households prepare for Halloween, a report by Meble Furniture sheds more light on the country's Halloween decoration preferences, presenting surprises that could rattle a skeleton out of its closet.

Alabama and Illinois share their interest in crows for this spooky time of year.

East Coast: Bones Over Jack-O'-Lanterns

Pumpkins, traditional symbols of autumn and Halloween, play second fiddle to other decorations in many East Coast states. The bare-boned appeal of skeletons has eclipsed the attraction of the trusty pumpkin, especially in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and others where this macabre decoration takes top billing.

Zara O'Hare, an interior designer at Land of Rugs, offered her take on the trends. "Certain iconic symbols of the Halloween holiday, such as skeletons, pumpkins, and spiders, seem to remain universally cherished. However, preferences differ widely, painting a fascinating picture of regional tastes."

West Coast: Pumpkin Preferences

The West, on the other hand, hasn't severed ties with tradition. Idaho, Oregon, and Washington uphold the pumpkin's reign, signaling perhaps a deeper-rooted attachment to the time-honored symbols of the season.

Midwestern Arachnophilia; Diverse Decorations

The Midwest favors spiders for Halloween decorations. These eight-legged arachnids have crawled their way to the top in Indiana, Montana, and Ohio. From coast to coast, each state has its decor preferences ranging from corn stalks in the Southwest to crows in the Southeast and Midwest.

Many states opt for traditional decorations, while many are moving towards more eclectic choices, pulling from both the conventional and contemporary.

Pop Culture Influences

Modern media's influence in shaping Halloween tastes has been noteworthy. For instance, Georgians have shown a surprising affinity for the TV series Stranger Things with Demogorgon decorations. In similar fashion, Floridians, rather than indulging in typical decorations like spider webs, have embraced decor inspired by the Wednesday TV show.

As O'Hare explains, "Whether you're inspired by Florida's TV show inclinations or align with the East Coast's skeletal choices, the Halloween spirit is ever-evolving."

Special Mentions and One-State Wonders

With their penchant for Michael Myers decorations, states like Wyoming and Nebraska demonstrate the diversity of America's Halloween spirit. Alaska and Hawaii, meanwhile, lean towards the unique, preferring candelabras and coffins.

The range of decor preferences speaks as much to the influence of pop culture on local trends as it does to America's size and diversity of backgrounds and traditions.

Data Specifics

The study's methodology speaks to its comprehensive nature. By analyzing over 5,000 Google search terms indicating purchase intent, the research team came up with a comprehensive picture of how Americans celebrate Halloween.

Here are the favorite decorations for each state.

Skeletons: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island.

Pumpkins: Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Louisiana, Iowa, Utah, Washington.

Spiders: Indiana, Montana, Kansas, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin.

Witches: Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Vermont, Michigan, Virginia.

Tombstones: Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina.

Ghosts: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, West Virginia.

Clowns: North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee.

Michael Myers: Nebraska, Wyoming.

Corn Stalks: Arizona, New Mexico.

Bats: Colorado, Pennsylvania.

Addams Family: Florida.

Coffins: Hawaii.

Demogorgons: Georgia.

Candelabra: Alaska

Ever-Changing Trends

What emerges from this study is a snapshot of tastes, old and new, that describes the spirit of Halloween across the U.S. As households light up their porches with ghouls, goblins, and other ghastly delights, one thing is clear: America's Halloween decor game is as diverse as it is delightful.

With a vast array of choices, from vintage Halloween decorations to modern pop culture influences, and even some looking for Halloween ideas from art, the U.S. is gearing up for a Halloween that promises both frights and delights.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
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