There was an article in last week’s Wall Street Journal about Halloween that was a little scary to me. It said that the percentage of Americans who buy Halloween decorations is larger than the percentage who buys Christmas decorations, 68% versus 66%.
And Halloween spending this year is expected to rise 22%. I can certainly understand buying an extra bag of M&M’s; with the newspaper full of headlines about the slow economic recovery and pre-election sniping, scarfing down a bag of snack-size Snickers for some mood-boosting serotonin sounds like a good idea.
Beyond laying away a chocolate stash as coping mechanism until the economy turns around and the election is over, the fact that people are spending more to celebrate Halloween is shocking to me.
And aside from making any judgments about whether buying a zombie with glowing eyes and screeching sound effects is a good use of $79, I have personal reasons why I have absolutely no desire to spend any money on Halloween decorations.
I associate Halloween with the some of the biggest tantrums and meltdowns that my kids ever had and I suppose it has left me a little traumatized about the holiday. If there is a silver lining to having teenagers, it’s that I no longer have to deal with Halloween costumes, class parties and trick-or-treating.
Our oldest son always seemed to have some kind of costume malfunction that left him devastated. For instance, when he was in 5th grade, he worked very hard to make his own costume based on a fierce character from a video game, complete with a helmet that had horn-like weapons on it. And although he thought he had succeeded in achieving the effect of this awesome warrior with felt, cardboard and a hot glue gun, when he put on the costume at school, the first classmate who saw him in it, asked him, “What are you, a dead bunny?”
And I think Valerie had the biggest tantrum of her life when she was three years old and there weren’t enough cupcakes at her older brother’s class party for her to have one. And every year we always faced anxiety about trick-or-treating, “This friend already has made plans with another friend, and I’m not sure they will invite me, but I won’t know until it’s too late to invite this other friend…” And on and on.
So call me a fun-sucker, but I’d rather skip over Halloween and move right on to November 2 to see who wins the elections. Based on what I’ve seen in the polls, the outcome might be plenty frightening.