Halloween Op Ed: Historical, Economic, and Cultural Impacts

We have hit the thick of fall, with all of the sights, sounds, and colors rushing headlong into winter. For many, this is the best time of year with fire kissed colors, cooler air, and pumpkin spiced everything. With all of the beauty of the holiday comes another favorite pastime for many: Halloween. For those that love frights, haunted houses, scary movies, and Jack O’ Lanterns, this is the haven season for those things. Halloween is a long and storied holiday with ancient roots and provides a great time for children the world over. In America alone, 2015 saw an average of $6.9 billion dollars spent across the nation, with an average of $74 spent per person. It has become a staple of Americana in the fall tradition.

Halloween is thought to have originated from Celtic customs and traditions, beginning with the festival of Samhain where people danced in costumes and sang by firelight. In the eighth century, the Pope designated the first of November to be a time where all Saints should be honored, thus creating All Saints Day which would also be influenced by Samhain. The customs of Halloween grew and evolved throughout the centuries, finally finding its way to America where it became popularized in the latter half of the 19th century by immigrants flooding into the Country. Today Halloween is one of the most popular holidays here in the U.S. or any where else in the world and makes for some exciting traditions.

Celebrated every year on October 31st, both parents and children alike partake in the numerous activities each holiday season. The fun starts at big retail chain stores or in more recent years, online shopping. There is an outfit for everyone’s favorite book, movie, or television show. After everyone is all decked out in either their cutest or scariest costume, the Trick or Treating begins, with kids ringing door bells in their neighborhoods in a quest to collect the most candy. For the adults, Halloween parties are many and for those feeling especially ghoulish, there are a number of frightening haunted houses across the country, with some of the best ones being right here in the state of Georgia. Additionally, the box office always conjures up something spooky around this time of year to frighten movie goers. There is something for everyone during the Halloween season.

Halloween, for better or worse, always catches some flack, either from religious communities or concerned citizens. At the end of the day, it is a driving force of the economy, especially before the busy Christmas season, and can be fun for the whole family. Halloween is so much more than scares, blood, and gore. Fall festivals, time with loved ones, and late night candy binges are all fond memories made and the magic continues to grow year after year. So whether fright is your thing or you prefer the colorful costumes, or perhaps just quiet time alone with loved ones in front of the TV, don’t let this Halloween season pass you by. Come on, you have nothing to be afraid of.