On The Beat 09/29

 Halloween: a big, scary business

By Jim Bucher

I’ve written about this before, just a few years ago. But you know what? Halloween has become even bigger since then!

You already know that next to Christmas, Halloween is the biggest holiday for retailers.

I remember a time—here I go reminiscing again—when Foy’s Halloween Store in Fairborn (or, as I like to call it, “Scareborn”), was THE only place to go as a kid to get the latest in Halloween costumes and accessories.

Now it seems like there’s a pop-up shop selling Halloween wares in every strip mall and shopping center.

I also recall the Peanuts animated Halloween cartoon, which was about it as far as Halloween entertainment went. Today every network and cable channel has a Halloween themed special or show. Remember the old Roseanne TV show? Every year, the comedian, who is a BIG Halloween fan, would go all-out in a themed episode.

Meanwhile back to Halloween, whose season begins around Labor Day…you know, the same time Christmas does…

It seemed like it was a whole lot less complicated back then, didn’t it? My mom and dad would put up a few Halloween decorations around the first week of October. Just a couple of cardboard witches and jack-o-lanterns in the windows of our front porch. Only we kids would think if we planted the candy corn, a candy corn stalk would grow; to this day, it still hasn’t happened.

But why is Halloween so big now? I’m not sure.

Could it be the Halloween movies in the late ’70s like “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th”? It seemed like the year after those movies became big box office hits, the Jason mask and Freddie’s claw hands were big sellers.

Retailers thought, “Hey, maybe we’ve got something here. Instead of kids cutting holes out of mom’s good white sheets to make a ghost, we could sell these!”

Yes, Halloween is scaring up big business.

Theme parties, haunted houses and trails have become “spook-tacular.”

Get a load of theses statistics: There are 44 million potential trick-or-treaters out there, ages 5-14.

Some 90 million households will hand out candy. We eat about 1.5 lbs of candy each.

About 50 percent will decorate their home or yard and some 43.9 percent of us will dress in costume. (I think it seems like more.)

The most played Halloween songs include “Thriller,” “Monster Mash,” “Ghostbusters” and “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC.

About $1.2 billion will be spent on adult costumes, $1 billion for kids and $220 million on costumes for our pets.

Finally, some of the best and worst places to trick or treat include the best city for walking: San Francisco, the safest place: Plano, Texas and the coldest: Minot, North Dakota.

It was a warm and sunny 26 degrees last Halloween in Minot.

Back in the day, most neighbors would have their porch lights on with the parents handing out the candy while their kids roamed the neighborhood in search of goodies.

One family down the block would make these wonderful popcorn balls. You were told ahead of time to announce yourself, and you’d receive one.

Nowadays can you imagine dumping your kids’ candy out and seeing a popcorn ball, or even an apple?

It promptly would be thrown in the trash along with anything that looks suspicious; it’s the day and time we live in. Again, things seem a bit more complicated now.

Single moms and dads that may be working can’t handle the chaperone duties, let alone hand out candy at home. Maybe it’s the cost or just that the kids have grown, but the porch lights sending their beacon of joy to “come and get it” are few and far between.

But it’s still a fun event for the little ones.

And other than the cost of the costume, it was one of the few times your wallet got the night off. For those of you out there who have kids, you know they are money eating machines. I feel like an ATM sometimes with a free PIN.

Personally it was always wonderful when the kids left the house and they didn’t have to ask for money.

“So, let me get this straight, you’re going to leave the house with an empty pillowcase and come home packed with Hershey Bars, Pay Days, Tootsie Rolls and Twizzlers and it won’t cost me a dime?”

Gosh, wouldn’t it be awesome if it worked like that in real life?

I’d send them to Costco.

Cheers and Happy Halloween!

Buch

For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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