Straddling the line between fall and winter is Halloween, candy’s biggest holiday. Halloween first emerged around 2,000 years ago. As it began so long ago, people left food and wine on their doorsteps to keep roaming spirits away. As you can imagine, it was not a huge impact on the economy at the time. In contrast, modern day Halloween is a billion dollar night.
In the early nineteenth century Halloween brought quite a strain to the American economy. It was more about the tricks than the treats. Teenagers and children everywhere went all out with their gimmicks and hoaxes. No person, or building, was safe. People actually started offering candy to protect their homes from damage. Towns and cities suffered greatly from the havocs wreaked on Halloween night.
Around 1950 or so, the retail industry started to take notice of the potentially huge profits available from commercializing this holiday. Boy, were they ever right! The media got involved and big box retailers targeted children to market costumes and candy to. Now consumers spend upwards of $2.5 billion annually on costumes alone. Halloween candy commands about $6 billion annually. Almost twenty-five percent of all the candy bought over the course of a year in the United States is purchased for Halloween. This is the second biggest commercial holiday behind Christmas.
Research indicates that Americans spend an average of about $66 per person on Halloween related items. Many businesses now only open their doors around Halloween to sell costumes and holiday related merchandise. This strengthens the American economy opposed to the holiday’s historical roots. Temporary jobs are created through these short-term businesses. A large number of people throw adult parties in their homes or at clubs. Additionally most kids have a Halloween party at school.
Of course, all of the above command candy, and lots of it! This is great business for retailers and grocery stores. Seasonal work opportunities and additional sales at retailers will boost the American economy. Night clubs, restaurants, and theatres will get in on the action as well. There is always a new horror flick around for Halloween.
A night that once strained the American economy has become one of the biggest booming money makers in modern society. The evolution of Halloween and its effect on the American economy is as strange as the holiday itself. It is the original rags to riches story!