See iKids and Halloween 1: The Business of Scare to learn more about the popularity of this holiday.
Halloween in all its glory is not just a day when people dress up to have fun. It is the holiday that best expresses the spiritual beliefs and norms that are being increasingly adopted by the American culture. Halloween is now America’s fastest growing holiday with sales topping 7 billion dollars for costumes, candy, and trips to haunted venues. Since 2009, Halloween spending has increased over 55%, easily dwarfing the growth of sales for other holidays like Easter (25%), Valentine’s Day (18%) and Christmas (13%).
It’s no mistake that J.K. Rowling, the author of the widely popular Harry Potter series, is releasing a 1,700 word story on Halloween about Dolores Umbridge, a Hogwarts professor and a witch who left a permanent scar on Harry Potter.
The casting of spells, the use of magic, and returning from the dead to take on evil forms are very much front and center when it comes to the American culture. One of the main factors in its growth is that Halloween is no longer just for children. While in generations past, Halloween was all about trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with your children, now its about a holiday when adults can dress up and have fun. In fact, two-thirds of all adults will participate in a Halloween activity of some type this year.
As the popularity of Halloween is on the rise, let’s take a look at three factors that underlie its growth:
- The Spirituality of Boo is Non-judgmental
In an age when terrorists commit unspeakable acts in the name of their religion or when people feel judged by religious intolerance, the belief in the supernatural is freeing. No one is going to beat you up because you think you saw a ghost or if you think vampires will rule the world in the future. Rather than adhere to a strict doctrine, you are free to make up your own belief system and to change your mind as you will. Even better, it doesn’t necessarily even to have to make sense.
- The Spirituality of Boo is Experiential
Going to a scary movie or visiting a haunted house is an experience. In my city one haunted house venue advertises on the radio, “Kill live Zombies!” I assume they have a maze filled with actors dressed as the undead and customers shoot them with laser guns. The adrenaline rush of surviving an ordeal is reviving. It makes you feel like you are alive.
- The Spirituality of Boo is Stress-free
Unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter, you don’t have to make plans to visit your relatives, you don’t have to shop for the perfect gift, and you don’t have to make anyone happy by doing something you don’t want to do. Halloween is the one holiday when you can have fun with your friends and no one cares how you do it.
So as you celebrate this risk-free, fun filled holiday, there is one more thing to consider. What if zombies, witches, ghosts, and ghouls are real? Boo!!!