Why Halloween Was a Big Deal This Year

Probably More So for Adults Than Kids


The Evolution of Halloween

Halloween has been around for a long time, in one form or another. Much of this is rooted in more ancient celebrations that are generally known as All Souls Day. This earlier celebration goes back at least 3,000-4,000 years in a number of cultures.

In Mexico, the belief is that on midnight the 30th of October, the souls of the departed come back for a brief visit. Relatives go all out making alters and laying out food and other items to welcome them back, confirm they are missed, and thank them for their contributions to the family.

When we lived in Paris, we learned that there was a long- standing tradition of people going to the historic PèreLachaise cemetery on All Souls Day, to picnic in the splendid grounds and to celebrate those no longer with us.

It is a remarkable, eclectic, and historic place. Where else could you visit with Proust, Piaf, and Morrison all at once? Check it out for yourself:  http://www.perelachaisecemetery.com. We joined those who came to the cemetery when we were there and found the sense of community and connection with the departed to be palpable.

 This is a Big Time Celebration

Halloween has been on an upward curb for some time in America, and its not the kids driving that outcome. The amount spent for adult costumes, the number of Halloween themed, parties -all have been on the rise for some years. I expected we spend darn near as much on Halloween treats as we do for Thanksgiving. Turns out when you add it all up, Halloween is second only to Christmas, blowing right past Thanksgiving.

Check out the amazing numbers, thanks to Yahoo Finance:

Candy Spending
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans are expected to spend more this Halloween than any other year — $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion in 2020. About $3 billion of that will be spent on candy alone, which translates to about $30.40 that each person is spending on candy. For context, $30 could buy you a jumbo bag of pumpkin-shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups, a theater box of Skittles, six full-size Snickers bars, 3 pounds of candy corn, 12 ounces of assorted Laffy Taffy AND a pack of Hershey’s kisses.

Costume Spending
Americans are expected to spend a hefty $3.3 billion on costumes this year; with the average person spending $33.59. This is compared to only $2.6 billion spent on costumes in 2020. The most popular costumes include princesses for kids, witches for adults and pumpkins for pets.

Decoration Spending
Around 52% of Americans planned on decorating their homes this Halloween season, reported the National Retail Federation. The NRF’s Halloween Data Center estimates that $3.2 billion total will be spent on decorations, with per-person spending at $32.10.

Pumpkin Spending
According to Finder.com, the cost of a pumpkin is up: The average gourd will run you $4.83, as compared to $4.18 in 2020 and $4.04 in 2019. But pumpkin carving is a time-honored tradition that plenty of Americans won’t be missing out on. As a whole, the country is projected to spend $708 million on these popular winter squashes.

This Year, the Fauci Effect and the National Need for a Party

Dr. Fauci even played a role this year, encouraging people to step out and take their kids around the neighborhood to trick or treat. It was a nice way to say “this pandemic is not over yet, but we are close enough to do some things that at least remind us of normalcy and community. People clearly took that advice, and then some.

People needed something of a party – and to mix with others. Look at all the social media, jokes, cartoons, etc., as well as all that spending, and it’s obvious people were looking for a bit of a breakout moment.

We all had hoped to have such a moment by July 4th, but a disconcerting number of our fellow citizens got bitten by the stupid bug and elected not to get vaccinated, drawing out the national suffering an additional six months.

No full-size candy bars for them on Halloween.

Tis the Season of Holidays

By my count, at least nine holidays or similar celebrations are coming hot on the heels of Halloween, into New Year’s Eves. We will talk about some of these as they come along. In the meantime, take advantage of at least some of these and celebrate what is worthy of celebration.

Goodness knows you have all earned a little party time by now.

Bill Clontz

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