How the Adults Stole Halloween

Trunk-or-Treat! Halloween festivities in parking lot. (Photo: New York Times)

Here’s today’s column on the grownup hijacking of Halloween. It was initially a little more of a nostalgia trip/polemic (before the friendly touch of my editor friends at TIME Inc.) on how  parents (and others: e.g. Christian pastors, see pretty much ruined the only truly kid-centric, vaguely subversive holiday we’ve got.

But in the interest of full disclosure here, I’m pretty sure I’m going to catch some ‘incoming’ from my mom and sister over the suggestion (merely implied) that I, personally, was one of those creative, disciplined, spirited Pioneer Girl children who made her costumes single handedly  out of scraps from the rag bag. Not! My mother and sister are still suffering PTSD flashbacks from my annual Halloween costume histrionics, most memorably the time I required an emergency witch costume substitute (frosted white lipstick, boots, gauzy black mini-skirt) after going totally batshit-crazy berserk having a little change of heart over my “adorable” jelly bean jar ensemble…made from the proverbial DRY CLEANER BAG. Stuffed with airway-obstructing balloons. With a price tag roped around my neck. Need I say more??

“If the clothes from that bag are on my floor…” (Photo: Mad Men)

And I also remember my poor enterprising sister, who really was a Pioneer Girl (and routinely exhorted me to rip weeds out of the brook behind my house until my hands bled so as to ‘gather food for the harvest’), and her unjust reward for her entirely self-made Tin Man costume: being mistaken for an ironing board.

Nonetheless, with the haze of nostalgia, I give you: Grownups in Costumes: Have Adults Ruined Halloween:

“American adults now spend significantly more money on their own Halloween costumes than on their children’s. In fact, this year’s holiday is projected to ring up a recession-proof eight billion dollars in spending, only 13 percent of which actually goes to kids’ costumes (1.1 billion dollars) compared to the 17.5 percent (1.4 billion dollars) adults spend on their own dracula capes and french maid getups, in addition to the food, alcohol, and holiday décor. And let’s not leave the family dog out of the festivities. We spent $370 million dollars on pet costumes in 2011.

There’s nothing wrong with adults having a good time, of course. But you have to wonder why they have co-opted this children’s holiday to such a startling degree, and whether they are taking away some of Halloween’s magic in the process…

Continued at:

About ErikaChristakis

Yale Lecturer in early childhood education/Licensed teacher/Former preschool director/author. In possession of: unmarketable bachelor’s degree (Harvard, anthropology), semi-marketable graduate degrees (public health, education…). Rewarding career at the intersection of family, society, and schools (including long stint in parenting vortex). Forging a new path to connect all of the above.
This entry was posted in Children/Teens/Young Adults, Entertainment/Pop culture, Erika @, My story and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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