OSPA Halloween Survey

When thinking about how an office filled with institutional research data analysts might celebrate Halloween— the answer seemed obvious—somehow, someway, we should celebrate with data and analysis. 

So, I present the results of the Office of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis (OSPA) Halloween Survey.

Bar graph results on most classic Halloween costume.

Authoritative Findings

The most authoritative findings from the survey are that pumpkin spice belongs in pumpkin pie, that the top three classic Halloween costumes are witch, ghost, and vampire (in that order), and that the best Halloween candy was a tie between Sour Patch Kids and Peanut Butter cups followed closely by another tie between Snickers and 3 Musketeers. Surprisingly for this office, Nerds candy tied for third place, along with fruit snacks (which some of the members of the office might be stealing from their children’s lunch boxes).  We will be discussing the validity of the candy results (and the whole survey) for at least a week.

Bar graph results on Best Halloween Candy.

Qualitative Findings Thwarted by Outliers

In hopes of finding a qualitative answer about candy consumption, we instead found considerable evidence that the Office of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis is a pretty funny place to work. Two respondents reported that they have had zero fun-size candy, showing incredible restraint this Halloween season (or they are lying). In hopes of estimating the amount of fun-size candy eaten during a lifetime (some outliers excluded), the estimation of average lifetime fun-size candy consumption was 439.7, though there was item non-response on this question as one individual pleaded the 5th amendment to avoid self-incrimination and two others declined to provide exact numbers.  Thus, we consider this estimate to be a lower-bound to total candy consumption and should be noted as a limitation of this study.  

Costume Choice and Sustainability Crossover

The members of OSPA are a resourceful bunch, and most commonly use sustainable methods for creating their costumes with “thrifted!” items for their Halloween costumes being the most common method to acquire a costume and the second most common being “whatever is in my closet.” How this question about costume sustainability correlates with responses to preferred costumes, unfortunately, cannot be separated because the second most common preferred costume is “myself.” 

Bar graph showing office results on pumpkin spice products.

Pumpkin Spice and who exactly is Batman?

Significant survey findings showed that pumpkin spice belongs most in pumpkin pie and not at all in lattes, a startling result. That being said, at least three members of the office consider themselves to be pumpkin spice, possibly signaling interest in joining a girl band (the second place winner for the most appropriate location of pumpkin spice).  Absolutely no one is interested in the time-honored tradition of bobbing for apples. One member of OSPA is Batman; no really, they’re Batman. Whoever they are, we’ll never tell, but if there’s a difficult coding sequence or analysis issue, we know who to call!

Happy Halloween from all the data and analysis nerds over in the Office of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis. 

The credibility and validity of this survey is yet to be determined, but we had fun making it, participating, and doing some rudimentary analysis. We hope you enjoy!

See the full OSPA Halloween survey results here.

Eija Sumner, OSPA Strategic Communication Coordinator, dressed up as witch for Halloween

About the Author

Eija Sumner is the Strategic Communication Coordinator in the Office of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis (OSPA) at Washington State University.