Once again, I’m wondering. I don’t know why but this year, fall and Halloween really has me thinking. This month, I’m pondering how Halloween has grown and changed since I was a kid. You know, back in the stone age.
When I was a child, carving a Jack-O’-Lantern, my costume, and trick or treating were the big deals, but that was the extent of it. Now, according to research, Halloween has become big business, right behind Christmas. What I read said consumers will spend $10.14 billion on Halloween this year! That’s mind blowing. (Just so you know and can impress your friends at this years’ Halloween parties, that’s up over $2 billion from last year when COVID prevented a lot of festivities.) Each of us is predicted to spend over $100 on Halloween.
We spend the most on costumes–$3.32 billion. I’m imaging a heaping pile of costumes the size of Texas for that kind of money! What I read said that almost 2 million kids will be Spider-Man and over a million will be Batman. Adults favor witches, vampires, ghosts, and pirates. Not very imaginative considering all the ideas on the Internet. More people than I expected said they’d get a costume for their dog. I laughed. If I tried that, first of all, none of my dogs would let me dress them up. But say by some miracle I managed that Herculean task, they’d have the costume off and in shreds in five minutes tops.
I don’t remember my childhood costumes, except one. We took a green garbage bad, cut it like a Green Giant or Robin Hood tunic. I added a belt, tights, and boots and went as either the Jolly Green Giant or Robin Hood. I won a prize for that one! I loved sewing costumes for my boys. One ambitious year I made a firefighter’s coat for one son and a SWAT vest for the other. And yes, the firefighter’s coat was a bear to sew. Those days felt so hectic then, but I sure do miss them now!
We’ll spend darn near as much as we do on costumes, $3.17 billion, on decorations. When I was a kid, maybe one cool house decorated outside. Our neighborhood had a house like that. They had a strange little girl sitting on a swing, a huge spider on the roof, and I don’t remember what else. I was so bummed when they moved. Now almost everyone decorates at least a little outside. I started with a couple of cute signs and pumpkins, but I tend to decorate more on the whimsical side of Halloween. Every year I keep saying I’ll make more tombstones, (I bought this one when my kids were little) but I haven’t accomplished that goal yet. My favorite is the skeleton in the tree with the skeleton dog below like he’s chased the poor fellow up the tree.
I still decorate the house a little even though my children are grown. It helps put me in the holiday moods. I think what I enjoy most are my Jack-O’-Lantern light and the candles. I love lighting them every night after dinner, turning off the lights, and just sitting in the glow. Most of the items I’ve had for years. I picked them up when there used to craft mall in empty stores. I admit, I miss those places.
This is such a fun time of year. I love going from the Halloween decorations to fall/Thanksgiving to Christmas. The house feels more festive. More alive, even last year when we curtailed a lot of our celebrations. For me, that helped me focus on family, and it was refreshing to be released from some holiday commitments. Admit it. Did you really miss work holiday parties? But as usual, I digress. Whether you decorate or not, go to parties or don’t, I wish you a wonderful Halloween.
Giveaway: To be entered for today’s random giveaway for the Mudpie eat, drink, & be scary dishtowel, leave a comment on your favorite Halloween costume or decoration.
Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.