It’s Halloween, do you know where your money is?

While you might not know where the money is flowing this Halloween season the candy companies and retailers know exactly where it’s going. In fact, they are expecting a record breaking amount of your money to be flowing through their stores this holiday season. According to the national retail federation, Halloween spending will reach $8B in 2012 up from $7B in 2011. Over 76 million people will be dressing up this year and records are being broken for both Halloween candy and costume sales. It’s clear that Halloween is easily becoming America’s most popular holiday, but why?

I have a few thoughts:

Escapism – when people are scared, worried, stressed, fearing the future or basically not trying to face reality, what do they do? They find ways to get away from the everyday stresses. Some prefer drugs, some alcohol and some enter their virtual existence and hide behind their screen names. Either way, escaping from reality is a much better place to be than the present day where pain and suffering is a reality. What better way to enter into this alternate reality than dressing up like your favorite character and running around for a evening.

Nostalgia – we all want to remember the good old days. When times were better, safer and simpler. What’s more safe and memorable than your grandma’s cooking and trick or treating. These are memories that stick in our minds like the laffy taffy to our teeth. Especially during times of distress, it’s human nature to look to the past for security and safety. With the financial meltdown of the past three years and an upcoming Presidential election consumers are feeling an overwhelming need to find some bit of enjoyment during this fun, childlike holiday.

Candy – what is more motivating then candy? We all have a sweet tooth and since beggars night is all about getting as much of this sugary stuff as possible, it’s no wonder that we are spending over $2.4B on Halloween candy. It’s both a dentist’s worst nightmare and wet dream.

Superstition and Ritual – a core of our cultural identity, we all have superstitions and rituals that we relate to as a core of our existence. Our foundation as a society and culture is built upon fundamental principles that are learned, shared and communicated from generation to generation. Since Halloween is all about the supernatural and spooky it’s no surprise that this holiday connects deeply with consumers as they try and understand their connection with the physical and spiritual world.

Parties – need I say more, we all love a good party. Especially if there are games and good refreshments involved. The Internet is flooded with recipes, drinks and games that will make even adults feel and act like kids for an evening.

There are many more reasons why Halloween has become one of the largest holidays in the US. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a whole night dedicated to candy, costumes and trickery.

Enjoy the night and happy haunting.

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