Actually, this isn't really a note about "marketing" Halloween; it's more a note about Halloween and its market.
Here in the Northeast, the only thing that makes the death march toward winter tolerable is the brief respite that Halloween brings each October 31. It's the only time you can temporarily forget the shortening days, the ending of the year, the inevitability of cold and dark and aging... and become someone else for a day.
Halloween has its critics. Some conservative denominations of Christians, Jews and Muslims don't like it, and some mental health professionals contend that Halloween themes of violent psychosis and freakish insane asylums stigmatize and victimize the mentally ill.
I respect those points of view (although I might suggest that Halloween is as good a time as any to put the "fun" back infundamentalism). Still, I love the holiday. And I'm not alone: Nationwide, Americans will spend more on Halloween this year than they did in 2005. Each consumer will spend on average $59.06 on Halloween this year, up from $48.48 per person a year ago. We will have shelled out nearly $5 billion on costumes, decorations, and candy before tonight is over.
What makes people love Halloween? Maybe because it offers a chance to indulge in a fantasy or alternative persona without risk of ridicule, or it could be that most people just don't get the chance to act like kids often enough.
But my own reasons aren't quite as profound. Here's why I love Halloween:
Halloween is about community. Unlike other holidays—like Thanksgiving, where you have to endure making nice with Aunt Ida and her wing-nut of a son, or like Valentine's Day, when it's the unattached who feel freakish—Halloween is free from the pressure of sit-down meals with extended family and its complexities; free from heartache; and free from so much more...
Halloween is equal-opportunity. Aside from those who voluntarily keep their porch lights out on Halloween night, Halloween does not differentiate based on income, sex, age, or religious or sexual preference. No religious or state institution "owns" it. Anybody can participate.
Halloween is all about kids. Halloween is one of the holidays around which the kid year revolves. For the kids, there's the thrill of dressing up, free candy, and walking the sidewalks after dark. As for us parents, I love seeing the same kids on my doorstep year after year, and taking a silent inventory of how they're growing up and changing.
Halloween is short-term commitment. So even if you hate it, the trick-or-treating is usually all over in two hours, and then...it's November.
Until next week,
Chief Content Officer
An expanded version of this note is posted at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog -- check it out and add a comment!