Trick-or-treat means cha-ching!

by Valerie Turcios

You know Halloween is near when Starbucks starts serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes and “Spirit Halloween” stores are on every corner.

It’s the one night a year that children and adults get to dress up and pretend to be something or someone they’re not. The whole month of October is filled with festivals, Halloween parties, haunted houses and of course, trick-or-treating.

Halloween used to be called “All Hallows Eve” or “Night of the Saints,” about two thousand years ago in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts’ New Year started on Nov. 1, so they celebrated on Oct. 31, the day they believed that ghosts rose from the dead.

They believed having the spirits present helped the Celtic priests make predictions about their culture’s future during the long dark winters. It was the time of year when death circulated through the land. They wore costumes made out of animal skins and danced around hearth fires.

In America, Halloween has turned into a huge commercial holiday that brings retailers billions of dollars in profit. More than 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

The survey showed that consumers will spend $6.9 billion collectively, with the average American spending a predicted $74 on costumes, decorations and candy. Americans will spend $1.2 billion on adult’s costumes, $950 million on children’s costumes and $350 million on pet costumes.

I think it’s crazy how much people are willing to spend on, not only Halloween decorations, but costumes for their pets.

People are always in such a hurry that they’d rather pay ridiculous prices than actually take the time to think of a good costume. The creativity in costumes has been going downhill since the good old days. Kids are going to places like Party City to get a costume that is made with cheap fabric and sold for $50.

I miss the days when kids put together a cardboard box, cut a few holes and became a robot. Or when your mom helped you sew the fabric on your witch costume. People are forgetting what Halloween is supposed to be about.

It’s not about spending hundreds of dollars on costumes and costume accessories. It’s about expressing your creativity and being something you can’t be in the real world.

I know that times have changed and it would be rare to see a child trick-or-treating in a bed sheet with eye-holes. But with websites like Pinterest and Instagram there are good resources for costume inspiration.

There is always a greaser with his pink lady, Adam and Eve, and sometimes even Adam and Steve.

If you can’t find costume inspiration online, the month of October has other perks too.

There are classic feel-good, Halloween movies for inspiration that aren’t all scary. A few of my favorites are “Halloween Town,” “Double, Double Toil and Trouble,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Casper” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Halloween is the holiday that starts off the season, and consumer spending. I’m not against Halloween, but I can’t wait for it to be over so we can finally get to Christmas.

Turcios loves Halloween because she thinks it’s fun to dress up, but she doesn’t like the idea of being scared. She will always prefer Christmas.


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