The holiday we all participated in as kids (and now as adults) arrived on our shores in the early 20th century. Halloween is said to have originated in Ireland during Samhain, a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and regarded as 'The Celtic New Year'. Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The Ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. Today, fear = profits.
Commecialization of the holiday in the US dates back to 1903 when the first postcard appeared, followed quickly by a catalog of decorations by the Dennison company.
Halloween ranks as one of the largest retail “candy” holidays surpassed only by the Christmas season and Valentines Day. Eighty percent of homes are expected to participate and ninety-three percent of children plan to trick or treat.
Over seventy percent of adults now plan on participating, further fueling expenditures that top $8 Billion a year. Halloween is not just for kids!
New York City hosts the largest Halloween celebration …. The Village Halloween Parade. Started by Greenwich Village mask maker Ralph Lee in 1973, the evening parade now attracts over two million spectators and participants, as well as roughly four million television viewers annually. It is the largest participatory parade in the country if not the world, encouraging spectators to march in the parade as well. This year national sponsors include Starbucks, Jet Blue, Perrier, Bacardi and many others.
For a fun list of 530 phobias, click here.
To get you in the mood …..