The Los Angeles Times recently published an article saying that consumers will spend $6.9 billion on Halloween this year (down from a peak of $8 billion in 2012 ). That spending encompasses a large sector of retail (with pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween), entertainment (haunted attractions) and even the farming industry (oh glorious pumpkins)! While it still trails behind other major holidays, it's also the only one that doesn't involve direct gift-giving (which bloats the numbers across the board).
What was once considered a children's holiday now appeals to 18- to 34-year old millennials (the #1 target demographic for most business) and even older adults who let loose on one dark night in October. One of the major causes is considered to be social media, since sharing of pictures seems to be fueling the spread of cultural glee. (Read the full story here at LATimes.com.)
So there's all this data and you might be wondering why it's important. For decades Halloween has been dismissed a triviality and the numbers don't lie. People are spending serious money on the holiday and this consistent spending, year after year legitimizes it as a bankable commodity.
For passionate Halloween fans, like myself who runs this blog, and the countless Halloween artists out there, it somewhat validates our dark passions in a very real and tangible way. Now many of us are not it for the money, or make a business of Halloween, but our endeavors promote those who do. We keep the machinery alive and well, like worker bees in a colony. We find a cool product or site and share it. We see a scary movie and we tell others. We discover a new artist and promote their work.
To all our neighbors who stare at us weirdly, friends who question why we spend so much money to haunt our homes, and concerned loved ones who think we might be mad and/or borderline hoarders: we are part of a cultural revolution to keep spooky traditions alive. It is holiday that's not based on religious beliefs or governmental decree. It's a cultural holiday that's transformed over the ages and across the continents meant solely to encourage fun, fright, and maybe even a connection with that inner child buried by years of grown-up burdens and responsibilities. So let loose, go buy a pumpkin, and enjoy your Halloween!