Halloween of 2012 might shape up to be a bigger celebration than in recent years. A National Retail Federation survey found that 71.5% of Americans will participate in the holiday, spending a combined eight million dollars on candy, costumes, and the like. This is nearly a 3% increase from last year, and includes many UW Tacoma students. “By the time Halloween rolls around each year it’s safe to say Americans have already spent two months preparing for one of the fastest-growing and most widely-loved holidays of the year,” said NRF. President and CEO Matthew Shay.
Although marketed as a children’s holiday, hundreds of thousands of adults participate in one way or another. A different NRF survey of almost 10,000 people narrowed down the most popular costumes that adults will be donning at the end of the month. The bottom of the list includes dressing up as Superman, a nurse, or a ghost. The most popular were a vampire, a witch, or a pirate. Being an election year, politically influenced costumes are also topping the charts in terms of sales. The recently politicized Big Bird costume has become popular, as well as masks of the presidential candidates and interpretations of infamous campaign moments or events.
UW Tacoma freshman Sarah Bradley believes there’s no age limit when it comes to celebrating Halloween: “It’s not about ‘Oh, they’re too old,’ it’s more about whether you’re dressed appropriately for your age. My friends and I always dress up for Halloween; it’s not just for kids. I like reenacting movies myself. Usually I spend $20, at least, on my costume.” Bradley is blunt about costume trends that have become outdated. “I would say either go classic, super new, or be very careful. ‘Twilight’ is over, people.”
Not everybody condones the holiday, as made clear by Richard Moore, a man who commutes through downtown Tacoma for work. Although Moore’s disapproval stems primarily from religious affiliation, it has a business component as well.
“Halloween is about making money, like everything else. Buying costumes and specialized candy, it’s a waste. I let my kids dress up, but only while they’re young. It’s not something college students should be worrying about.”
All Hallow’s Eve supporter or not, with the holiday falling midweek and near midterms, some students may not find celebrating too appealing.