Halloween is Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive

By Brigid McLaughlin

Photo from pexels.com

Photo from pexels.com

Years ago, the dead were thought to return to Earth on an eerie Celtic festival day once called Samhain. Now, this spooky spellbound day is known as Halloween. A modern day Oct. 31 is dressed with princesses and superheroes, young and old, and has turned into a major money maker for chocolatiers and dentists alike. 

Even more than parties that facilitate jello cakes molded like brains, Halloween has become a day dedicated to horror culture, birthing gore stories like “The Purge,” ghostly classics like “The Amityville Horror,” and thrillers of course, like “Halloween.” Even Long Beach began to capitalize on the holiday when it introduced Dark Harbor, a maze-theater immersion experience at the historically haunted Queen Mary. Major local theme parks including Knott’s Scary Farm and Disneyland rise to the occasion with spooky Snoopys and wandering Jack Skeletons. 

According to the National Retail Federation's annual survey, Americans will spend around $90 a person on Halloween. This makes all the ghouling over the holiday worth it for candy corporations like Hershey or retail stores like Target that will produce decorations for the day.

Aubrey Grothe, a public relations major at CSULB, says she’ll be dressing herself and her two pups up this year for one of her favorite holidays: “It’s a tradition of mine to always decorate my apartment accordingly [for Halloween], and my two babies usually match me, even if we just stay in and watch horror films.” 

From last year’s calculations, it’s predicted in 2019 that around 20 percent of American Halloween celebrants will buy pet costumes. But what nabs consumers the most? It’s the “treat” in “trick or treat.” Candy companies will reap the rewards of a mind-melting $2.6 billion of predicted spending for 95 percent of Halloween participants on candy alone. 

Why has this candy corn-adorned holiday reached its multi-billion dollar status? It doesn’t provide the fuzzy warmth that Christmas brings to many, or the pastel-lined baskets that are gifted on Easter. It’s full of creepy crawlies and unpredictable screams. The British Psychological Society determined that by indulging in horror, we are inviting in pleasure from escaping fright: “One suggestion is that, like play, it allows us to rehearse possible threatening scenarios from a position of relative safety.”

There’s no other day that provides us horror-seeking Americans the time to feed our insecurities like Halloween does. And for that reason, it’s here to stay… so get out and get your scare on, dead or alive!