Kiwis love trick or treating, but not everyone is happy with the treats they've been given for Halloween over the years.

Dud items included potatoes, carrots and peas being given out to eager trick or treaters, and one person has recalled being given unshelled walnuts.

Tinned tuna, baked beans and an uninflated balloon were also amongst the less delicious treats recalled in a survey of more than 1000 Kiwis undertaken by Cadbury and Countdown supermarkets.

The retailers teamed up to find out how we are celebrating Halloween - although 39 per cent of us won't be celebrating it at all this year.


Nevertheless, the holiday's popularity is growing, and for 35 per cent of respondents its main appeal was the chance to fill a pillowcase up with tasty morsels.

"Dressing up in scary costumes is a very close second," said Cadbury New Zealand country manager James Kane.

"We wanted to take a light-hearted look at Halloween's scarier side, so together with Countdown we asked people to share some of the things that scare them most.

"Snakes, public speaking and parallel parking in front of an audience were Kiwis' top three fears, followed by house prices, spiders and having their credit card declined."

To back up the survey results, Countdown analysed its sales data and discovered that sales of Halloween merchandise last year increased more than 273 per cent from Halloween 2015, and chocolate sales also jumped more than 14 per cent.

"We can see that New Zealanders are really getting into the Halloween spirit," said Countdown merchandise manager Brett Ashley.

"We've found that Kiwi shoppers prefer to give away pre-wrapped confectionery like share packs to keep trick or treaters happy, but it's not just sweet treats that people are buying."

Pumpkin sales also shot up a third last year, indicating a rising popularity in jack o' lantern carving and pumpkin pie making.

This year carving your own pumpkin could be a little steep for most households however - the orange vegetable is selling for a particularly high price per kilo due to a poor growing season limiting supply.

Most people are last-minute grabbers, with the two days before Halloween typically when Kiwis start thinking about preparations. By far the majority leave treat shopping till the day itself.

"It's really fantastic to see more Kiwis getting into the fun and putting their own unique spin on Halloween, whether they're in it for the scares or the treats," Ashley said.