Who sold out Halloween?
Costumes and trick-or-treating are fun activities, especially for kids. For adults, it's a good reason to gather with friends and experience community . And a good excuse for adults to wear something outlandish.
For those who aren't into the ghosts, ghouls and goblins aspect, there's the Fall festival approach that still allows for treats and fellowship.
As is the case with all holidays, major or small, 20th marketers saw a business opportunity to sell costumes and treats and thus we now have the commodification of another cultural practice and tradition.
Just in case you aren't aware: Halloween is a derivation of All Hallow's Eve, a celebration that emerged from the historic Christian church tradition that celebrates November 1 as All Saints Day, a time to remember Christian believers who have already entered eternity. The eve of All Saints Day turned into a night of revelry and some debauchery in advance of the more pious religious feast day.
Making costumes from the back-of-the-closest or thrift-store finds, or even home-sewn apparel is a chance to be fun and creative. My favorite costumes are the ones that are home-crafted. Nothing memorable about a plastic cape or a mask of political figure someone hates.
When I moved into adulthood and set up my own household, I bought bags of candy to give out to trick-or-treaters who stopped by. But the obesity epidemic and my own decision to give up fast food, led me to rethink that practice.
I don't think the marketplace needs me to participate in a junk-food feeding frenzy or buy disposable costumes or accessories.
For two years, when I lived in Oklahoma, I spent extra and bought boxes of granola bars, small individual packs of raisins (sealed), and bags of fruit. The trick-or-treaters turned up their noses. I ended up with lots of leftover apples and raisins.
I'm not a purist who's opposed to store-bought candy and sweets, in moderation. I occasionally eat a Snickers bar, although much less often than I used to. Mainly because the Snickers bar no longer tastes as good as it once did. I think they changed the formula or something. Anyway, it's not worth $1.03 to me, which is the current cost of a Snickers bar if I buy one on campus from the bookstore. And I'm not going to buy Snickers by the bag, in advance, to economize. I don't need five or six at a time.
I'm more than fond of home-baked cookies, brownies, pies and cakes, especially those I make myself. (I use whole wheat flour when baking and less sugar).
I won't be giving out letters to overweight kids, either. No need to make them feel bad. It's the parent who needs chastising.
But count me out of the retail frenzy. I'll be settled in tonight celebrating with a Harry Potter book. And baking one of the pumpkins I grew this summer.
How are you spending Halloween? Are you tired of the commodification of our holidays? Have you opted out? Why or why not? What do you think of this infographic? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below (after the infographic).