I’ll be the first to admit, I absolutely LOVE autumn… the cool snap in the air, nature’s endless spectrum of colors, a cozy fire, snuggly sweaters – what’s NOT to love?!? But, it also signals the beginning of BIG holiday spending. No matter how much we may fight it, once Labor Day rolls around, so does the annual Halloween onslaught. You cannot walk into a store without seeing signs of All Hallows’ Eve EVERYWHERE – sometimes right alongside Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year’s paraphernalia!
It reminds me of an old sci-fi movie line: “Resistance is futile.” And, not only does my psyche take a hit – wandering around in 100+ degree Texas temperatures, seeing costumes hanging from the rafters and hearing “Rudolph” over the store speakers – but my wallet ALSO braces for the inevitable blow. Sadly, holidays in general and for our purposes today, Halloween festivities, carry some HEFTY price tags!
So, I decided to dig into the actual math behind this annual observance. And after a quick check with Money magazine, the numbers left me absolutely dumbfounded. Let’s take a look at Halloween, strictly by the numbers:
How much we spend on costumes for adults, children and pets… with adult costumes expected to outsell children’s costumes, with spending reaching $1.2 BILLION and $950 MILLION, respectively. And pet owners will drop $350 MILLION on costumes for their furry family members!
$2.1 Billion To $2.6 Billion
In the United States, alone, we spend at least $2.1 billion on candy, according to the National Retail Federation. And the National Confectioners Association puts the number slightly higher, at $2.6 BILLION! Almost three-quarters of consumers surveyed say they will pass out sweets to trick-or-treaters.
And, it’s not just those cute little ghosts and goblins driving the Halloween money machine. It’s BIG business for the entertainment industry, too!
Worldwide box office revenues for all 10 movies in the Halloween franchise. The original, released in 1978, was shot for $300,000 in just 20 days and took in $47 million at the box office – equivalent to around $99.1 million today – making it the highest-grossing independent movie at the time of its release. And, this box office bonanza has sparked an entire cottage industry of horror films specifically geared for Halloween debuts.
The total worth of the haunted house industry. NBC News cites more than 2,500 haunted attractions worldwide, and with prices for entry ranging from $15 to $40, larger haunted houses can earn between $2 MILLION and $3 MILLION a season.
Chance the stock market will rise on Halloween. That’s compared to the historical October 31 average of 52.1%, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P Dow Jones Indices, making it a bad day for investors. “Not only is the holiday more trick than treat, the movements, both up and down, are more extreme,” he says.
Now, one more note on Halloween. You will notice, I’ve avoided calling it a “holiday” specifically… and there’s a reason for this. As a professional wordsmith, I’m aware of the power words can wield and also a lot of their origins. See, our “holiday” simply represents a shortening of the words “Holy Days.” In early days, the ONLY “holidays” were HOLY days! However, through the centuries these sacred observances were co-opted by various industries, then expanded to include an unimaginable collection of cultural influences.
Put The “Holy” Back Into This Holiday
So no matter where you turn, regardless of the time of year, you will find advertisements, displays or emails alerting you to the current “holiday” YOU need to spend money observing! It has become a never-ending cycle, with nary a hint of “holiness” in sight. Too often, we sacrifice cultural “acceptance” on the altar of holiness… forgetting about our godly values and pouring our resources into basically pagan observances! Yep, those wiener dog costumes, bowls of yummy chocolate and popcorn movie extravaganzas, not only cost you BIG BUCKS, but actually celebrate something quite sinister.
But, YOU have a choice! As a child, I frequently participated in “trick-or-treat for UNICEF” or some other charity. And I’m not gonna lie, while I did miss the tasty treats, the feeling I got from sending my pennies to kids who had absolutely NOTHING – much less nifty costumes like my mother made for me – lingered LONG after the candy would have been gone. Not only did this teach me the importance of sharing with those less fortunate, it gave a bigger purpose to my Halloween fun. And I am eternally grateful to my parents, for instilling these values in our family.
“Trick-Or-Treat” For GOOD!
So with All Hallows’ Eve just a week away, consider either rejecting the entire observance or putting the “holy” back into this “holiday” by donating what you would have spent on candy and costumes and scary excursions, to orphans and widows and those who experience “haunted” lives EVERY day! Imagine what we could accomplish in the world, with just a FRACTION of that candy money. Add in those MILLIONS for movies and haunted houses, and we could literally change generations!
Now, we’re parents, too. We understand this might be a HARD sell for all your little superheroes. And while resistance MAY seem futile, you can get support from like-minded parents in our online social media communities – on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. And consider “trick-or-treating for King’s Ransom”… to give meaning to all that money you might plan to spend and put the “holy” back into this Halloween “holiday!”