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Halloween will be Devilishly Good for the U.S. Economy

Bring on the costumes and candy because Halloween is right around the corner. In 2023, according to the National Retail Foundation, Halloween, aka All Saints' Eve, will bring a record $12.2 billion into our lagging economy.

Halloween has been celebrated for centuries and did not start in the United States. Many other countries observe the holiday on Oct. 31, too. There is a theory that Halloween originated at Celtic harvest festivals with pagan roots. The first celebrations marked the ancient festival of Samhain, welcoming the beginning of winter.

The ancient Celts lived 2,000 years ago in the United Kingdom, Ireland and northern France, and celebrated Halloween on Nov. 1. All Saints' Day, a Christian feast of the early Scottish and Irish clergy, transformed Halloween into more of a religious event in AD 1000. Immigrants brought the tradition of Halloween with them when they moved to North America in the 19th century. The intent was to remember saints, or hallows, who had died, along with the dead. Hence, ghosts became prominent at Halloween because Samhain embraced departed apparitions returning to earth.

Why do we love the holiday so much? I think for several reasons, including getting to pig out on loads of candy, dressing up and becoming someone else, and having a day to delve into the mysteries of life like ghosts and the paranormal. Halloween is a big time for seances and ghost hunting.

If I were to place a value on Halloween, my top thought is that it equals pure escapism: an escape from the harshness of reality with the chance to trick-or-treat or watch a spooky movie. We all need that, especially in divisive times. Going around the neighborhood can help create a bit of camaraderie, a community bond integral to the Halloween tradition. 

Anybody can dress up. There's no age limit for putting on a costume. My all-time favorite costume was going to a party at age 29 as the bride of Frankenstein. I received compliments at a party in NY and even freaked myself out with the makeup I devised for the character. Earlier, I remember going to an elementary school party as a Hawaiian dancer in a grass skirt. That was my favorite costume that my beautiful mother hand-sewn for me. Of course, I was a witch and a ghost more than once, but who wasn't?!?

What's selling today? At the top of the list for hot costumes is Barbie, thanks to the very popular movie starring Margot Robbie. USA Today has a listing of the most popular costumes: it's no surprise that ghosts and witches still make the grade. Costumes should bring in more than $4.1 billion into the economy.

Inflation has upped the prices of materials, so expect to spend more for your transformation unless you get a bargain at a dollar or discount store. The National Retail Foundation found in its survey that consumers will spend about $3.9 billion on decorations and approximately $3.6 billion on candy. Reese's Cups are number one in Forbes magazine and I agree! 

Halloween movies are always a big draw, too. There are some great movies you can stream at home if you're hanging around to give out candy or come home later from a party. Scary movies can be campy. The 1996 "Scream" is an example of the genre tailor-made for Halloween. 

Whatever you're doing for Halloween, have fun and stay safe. This Halloween will likely bring more money into the economy than any year pre-pandemic, and offer a bit of a jump start for 2024. 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.

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