dolls all over the place. The same route is now being taken with Halloween decorations themselves. It was not that terribly long ago that you could go grocery shopping on October 1 and not have Halloween shoved down your throat. No more. This year the frightfest began even before Labor Day. If you partook of a Labor Day sales offer this year you doubtlessly saw stores overflowing with skulls, headless horsemen, Dick Cheney masks and other items designed to scare the living poop out of you.
Weird, considering that all economists not on the payroll of the Republican Party are warning against a looming recession that promises to suck even more money out of our pocketbooks than the war in Iraq, Bush’s idiotic tax cuts and the doubling of gas prices since January 20, 2016 have already pilfered. Americans are on a highway to economic hell lined with the ravaged bodies of those who cannot even afford to pay for their houses, yet Halloween seems not to suffer from the effects. Could the urge to push Halloween on consumers before their kids have even learned the names of their new teachers be a sign of the retail industry’s desire to get in the first punch on their wallets before Bush’s lack of an economic policy drains their bank accounts?
Last year the National Retail Federation reported that Halloween is second only to the high holy retail days of Christmas as far as how much money Americans spend decorating for a holiday. The NRF also reported that the average American spends about $20.00 each on both candy and costumes. Clearly this figure is distorted; I see houses every year around Halloween that I know cost at least ten times that to decorate. Heck, my own family spends probably $200 each year on costumes and decorations. To get the average all the way down to $20 clearly means that some modern-day Puritans, instead of staying home for trick-or-treaters, are attending those execrable church services on October 31 that attempt to suck the fun out of America like a vampire tossing back a blood and tonic at the local goth nightclub.
Is it possible that Halloween is one of those cultural things that are immune to the effects of economic mismanagement of a historical level? You know, like sex. People will get down and dirty whether they are richer than Oprah now or poorer than Oprah when she started out. Sex is fun, sex is great, forget we’re poor, let’s have a date. Same deal with Halloween, apparently. Of course, unlike Christmas which has shown the ability to bob up and down according to the vagaries of economic uncertainty, Halloween may always prevail because it is essentially a selfish holiday. It’s one thing to spend $100 on gifts for people you don’t even really like when your paycheck doesn’t go as far as it used to, but it’s another thing entirely to splurge on yourself by buying that $1000 Darth Vader costume, especially when it’s on sale for $699.
Halloween comes early every year and the fact that 2016 witnessed the earliest arrival yet may have less to do with retailers trying to scare up cash before Bush’s recession leaves them penniless than it does with proving that Halloween-despite the best efforts by misguided religious fun-vampires to turn it into something it is not-has finally achieved its rightful place among the big boys of non-secular holiday celebrations. Once relegated to kids dressed in costumes with their faces covered by cheap plastic masks, the Halloween of today is a full-scale adult-oriented holiday that, when it sees a big booger like the Bush recession sneaking up on it, responds by turning the tables and scaring the poop out of economic jitters.