With the 31st October fast approaching, BMG Research can reveal that a third (33%) of the public say that they believe in ghosts, spirits or other types of paranormal phenomena, but more than half of Britons will not be taking part in any Halloween related activities this year.

Belief in the Supernatural

The poll of a representative sample of GB adults asked “Do you believe in Ghosts, Ghouls, Spirits or other types of paranormal activity?”. One third (33%) said that they believe in the supernatural, while almost half (46%) said they were non-believers, with just over one fifth (21%) saying they have yet to make up their mind.

Young people are more likely to think that the paranormal exists when compared to those in older age groups. 44% of those aged between 18 and 24 say they believe in the paranormal, compared to just 22% of those over the age of 65. Women were also more likely than men – by a margin of 10 percentage points – to believe in the supernatural.

Of those who either believe in ghosts, spirits or other types of paranormal activity, as well as those who are unsure, 40% reported seeing or feeling the presence of paranormal activity in the past, with a further 24% saying that may have had a paranormal experience. Around a third of believers (36%) said they hadn’t yet had any run-ins with ghosts, ghouls or spirits.

Celebrating Halloween

When presented with a list of Halloween activities, more than half of Britons (56%) will not be taking part in any Halloween related activities this year, up five percentage points on 2016.

Of those who said they will doing something to celebrate, the most popular activity is buying treats for trick or treaters (27%), followed by carving a pumpkin (18%), watching horror films (13%), and dressing up for a party (11%).

Trick or Treating

BMG also asked the public about their views on trick or treating. It is clear that the public is somewhat divided on the practice. Whilst two in five (41%) agree with the statement “trick or treating is harmless fun and should be encouraged”, almost as many, 40%, agree that “trick or treating is a nuisance and should be stopped”. 38% also reported not feeling safe when answering the door to trick or treaters, a figure which rises as people get older.

Robert Struthers, Senior Research Executive at BMG Research said:

“Happy Halloween? With 56% saying that they will not be doing anything to celebrate Halloween this year, and just 11% saying they plan to dress up and going to a party, it appears many Brits are struggling to get into the Halloween spirit in 2017. 

“However, “Halloween apathy” is lower in younger age groups, as well as parents with children under the age of 18. Just 29% of 18-24s and 33% of parents say they will be doing nothing to celebrate.

“Apparently undeterred at the prospect of an unexpected visit from a ghost or ghoul, believers in the paranormal are also more likely to take part in Halloween celebrations. 68% of those who are not convinced by the supernatural will not be taking part, which compares to just 41% of those who believe.”

Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.

For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.



0121 333 6006

Ciaran McGlone  –  Research Executive

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