Every day Life
By On The Cusp
It’s finally here. Halloween is the one holiday that brings out the child in all of us. No other holiday gives us the social permission to play dress up, make fun of famous people, go to parties and laugh openly at everyone else, and of course, eat a lot of candy.
When I was a kid, Halloween meant begging your mother into sewing a costume, or rifling through the house to pull together an outfit. My sister and I got lots of use out of my father’s weekend work clothes in our hobo costume years. The lucky ones got to buy a shrink-wrapped costume with mask that covered their faces, with tiny holes to breathe through the hard plastic. But most of us in my New Jersey suburb, made do with what was on hand.
Now, Halloween is big business. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, the average person spends $93.42 on Halloween, adding up to a whopping $7.9 billion in Halloween spend for retailers. This year, more money will be spent on adult costumes than kid costumes. And 11 percent plan to dress their pet.
In a rather alarming trend, the most popular choice for girls is the princess costume. The most popular adult costume, is a witch. I’ll save the commentary on how little princesses grow up and aspire to this new role, for another blog. [How many of us have donned a pointed cap, only to hear comments of ‘no costume, just yourself this year?’]
But back to the here and now. Today is the day to finally carve that pumpkin, if it survived the nightly raids by neighborhood kids. Being a strict triangle-eye novice, I’m in awe of the elaborate creations around me. One neighbor carves elaborate horror expressions, paints ‘em white and makes them into ghosts lining her fence. Others have carved faces that will mirror those of the trick-or-treaters later on today: the gap-toothed smiles, the goofy expressions, the wide grins.
The way my kids see it, candy is the reason for the season. Now that Halloween treats appear in the stores before Labor Day, the candy negotiations start in September. I don’t want to buy any candy I like - which pretty much is anything in the chocolate family - because I know from sad experience that whatever my resolve is, I’ll break down and have just the one piece. One empty bag later, I’ll be making another trip to the store to replenish. My kids lobby for everything I’ve resolved not to buy. We go back and forth until we hit on a few that don’t beckon to me late at night.
My favorite part of Halloween is handing out the candy. I love seeing the little ones in their cute costumes. I love seeing the personalities of the kids through their costumes: the superhero who timidly hangs back behind his siblings; the baseball players who artfully grab handfuls of candy and deftly stuff the loot in their overloaded sacks; the sweet ballerinas and, yes, princesses who carefully look through the basket before choosing their favorites. It’s a night when all along the street, the welcome lights are on, we’re all on our porches, and it feels like a great big party. Some of the parents escort their kids, beverage cart in tow. Happy kids, happy parents.