Friday, October 28, 2011

Well, Bob My Apple...Halloween is Almost Here.

Does anyone know how the tradition of Halloween even started? I have a vague idea. Yeah, I could look it up, but my point is that most of us probably don’t know. And the celebration of Halloween certainly has changed over the years. There used to be some simplicity to it. Whatever happened to those little orange UNICEF boxes that we were given in school to collect pennies in…back when a penny still had some manner of worth to it?

Anyone bob for apples anymore? Has the apple industry even tried to revive this practice (hello marketing opportunity)? My brother hated apples; at a Halloween party where apples were strung from the basement ceiling for us to bite on (no hands) a banana was hanging for my brother instead! And oh yes, we stuck our faces in basins trying to grab those elusive mackintoshes too (no, not the computer)!

I also remember getting lots of complements when trick-or-treating for a witch costume I had. Thank you Collegeville! Of course, you simply went to Woolworth’s and picked something from the small selection there; a far cry from the numerous offerings at Party City or those pop-up-for-month Halloween shops that we have nowadays. Did you know that just in the past six years alone, spending on costumes rose from 1.15 billion to a forecast of 2.52 billion for this year.

Halloween is big business.

I don’t recall a lot of outdoor d├ęcor when I was kid, just dried corn on front doors and pumpkins.  Recently, when visiting friends, I was in awe from the ONE decoration they had; an inflatable black cat that nearly hid their house from view. The cat’s head swayed from side to side and lights up in the dark; a welcoming beacon for those who’ll stop by looking for a treat on Monday night.

And my neighbors down the street have at least TEN inflatables on their front yard. It’s a spectacle, with lots of people stopping by in the evening. In the last few years, it seems like my whole street is lit up on Halloween night and every year more kids are out. Last year, about 75 kids, mostly in small groups or with moms, rang my doorbell, set to an appropriate Halloween chime.  About five years ago, there were maybe six kids visiting.

Okay, Halloween did fall on a weekend last year.

Halloween IS big business. According to the Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey we spent 3.29 Billion on Halloween “stuff” in 2005. This year expenditures are predicted to be around 6.86 Billion. That’s more than double in just a few years; this is one happening that appears to be recession proof. And Martha Stewart, if you’re still darkening your home on Halloween night, as we recently heard, it’s okay to greet trick-or-treaters. Bake them a cake.

And what are YOU going to be this year? I may pull out the poodle skirt (no, not vintage but purchased at a costume shop), seek out some saddle shoes, tie my hair in a big pony tail and have an ice cream soda.

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