wins out over Halloween fears
The great commercial colossus that is America's way of
celebrating holidays has rolled over those who object to Halloween -- as a frivolous waste
of time, for teaching kids paganism, as an affront to America's dental hygiene, whatever.
Halloween has been taken out of the hands of children and enshrined as part
of the national economy. Trick-or-treat has become all treat for retailers.
Commercially, Halloween now generates $2.4 billion in sales,
trailing only Christmas. More candy is sold than on Valentine's Day and more parties held
than on New Year's Eve. Two-thirds of all grownups will celebrate Halloween in some
fashion or other and half of them will spend more than $100 doing so. We will send each
other 28 million Halloween cards.
Society's deep thinkers have been struggling to define What
It All Means. Why have Americans elevated a minor religious observance, the eve of All
Saints Day, which has roots among the Druids, into a giant national costume party? Is it
an unhealthy fascination with the macabre? A national cry for new identity? Atavistic
And what does it mean that three of the most popular masks
people buy to scare their friends are representations of ex-Presidents Nixon, Reagan and
We'll go out on a limb here. Maybe, just maybe, the costumes,
parties, candy and other assorted nonsense are simply fun. We like a good time.
Happy Halloween, and -- oh, yes -- Boo!