Halloween, one of North America’s favorite and most unique holidays, has been growing in popularity for years. Now, thanks to the rise of social media, the rapid pace of modern-day society and the tendency for people to go crazy when it comes to having the most outrageous, witty, clever or frightening costumes and decorations, this year’s Halloween festivities promise to be bigger, better and a lot more expensive for the average household family than ever before.
Halloween expenses in the U.S this year will reach a staggering $125 per family, according to a recent study from the International Council of Shopping Centers. With three-quarters of U.S. families expected to dip into their wallets for the holiday, this brings the expected total expense to an incredible $11.3 billion.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why this year’s Halloween is costing household’s so much is the increased pace of modern-day society and the fact that many parents are now choosing to juggle their families along with their careers. With so much less time at home, more and more children are being sent out trick-or-treating with store-bought costumes, instead of the traditional home-made costumes which take time and effort. With so many families finding themselves pressed for time, the ease of buying costumes from the local department store is proving itself to be very attractive for busy parents.
Another, more comical expense, is the growing tendency for pet owners to dress up their dogs and cats in Halloween costumes, the most popular being the pumpkin, hot dog and the devil. While last year’s costume expenses for pets came to around $220 million, this year is expected to see approximately 23 million people splash out on dressing up their furry friends, with an enormous increase in spending. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) the sales on pet costumes alone this year will hit $350 million.
Halloween has always enjoyed a steady increase in popularity as the years have gone on, but the rise of social media has played a massive role in the sudden surge of excitement for all things scary and spooky. While adults began to shamelessly embrace the October holiday as early as 1990, the more recent expansion of social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram has helped to expose Halloween as one of North America’s biggest cultural phenomena.
Halloween popularity has also exploded in Canada over the last few years, perhaps inspired by the millions of photos and videos of costumes, decorations, jokes and ideas that overrun social media every October. 68 percent of Canadians are now embracing the festivities and taking Halloween to extreme lengths in pursuit of the best or scariest costume and the most festive decorations. The holiday has become so popular that Canadians are now spending more per capita than even the U.S.
This year’s holiday falls on a Friday, meaning that more people are able to enjoy Halloween events, parties and trick-or-treating, boosting the profits for retailers and further increasing the sheer volume of people getting dressed up and taking part in the festivities. With only a week to go before the official day, the frenzied preparation continues as North Americans get ready to enjoy the biggest, best and most expensive Halloween ever.
By Mathew Channer