According to a survey of "Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions" by the National Retail Federation, 29.6% of Americans are reducing their Halloween spending this year because of the economy. I am not among that 29.6%. The economy hasn't affected my Halloween spending at all. I'm shelling out the same amount I did last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Nothing.
It's not that I'm cheap. Well, actually, I am, but that's not the whole story. It's just that I don't really get Halloween. At least I don't get why it has become such a big deal.
This probably stems from the fact that when I was a kid we didn't pay much attention to Halloween. We never went trick-or-treating. When you live in the country and the closest neighbors are a mile down the road, going door to door isn't exactly practical.
We must have had some sort of Halloween parties at school, because I do have a vague memory of bobbing for apples. With only five kids in the whole school, though, there wasn't much point in dressing up in elaborate costumes. We've have all recognized each other anyway.
When I was in eighth grade, our school did go to another rural school for a Halloween party. I dressed up as a pirate, complete with eye patch, which skewed my vision enough so I kept bumping into things. One of my younger sisters had a long braid bobby-pinned to her own short hair, and the other kids were shocked when she took it off at the end of the party. It was real hair, too. Our grandmother had kept it from the one time years earlier she had cut her own hair short. (I suppose some people might think that keeping a braid of your own hair in your dresser drawer for years was a little spooky in itself.)
Whatever the reasons, I've always found Halloween more annoying than entertaining. Carving pumpkins and dressing up for costume parties can be fun. So is handing out candy to little kids in their parka-covered costumes, even the tiny trick-or-treaters who are a little vague about the whole process. But spooky movies and haunted houses are way too scary. Giving candy to pillowcase-toting kids as tall as I am who don't even bother to say "Thank you" is irritating. And decorating the yard with a bunch of plastic witches, skeletons, and pumpkin-head lights? Forget it.
Then there is always the stressful question of how much candy to buy and what kind. Do you get stuff you like and end up eating way too much of it yourself? Or do you get stuff you don't like and end up tossing the leftovers in the trash? Or should you get candy at all? My adult kids probably still roll their eyes when they remember my Halloween health-food phase of giving out peanuts or little boxes of raisins instead of candy—especially because my non-candy views never kept me from begging a couple of pieces of chocolate out of their bags.
At any rate, it's a relief now to live on a dead-end street where the houses are scattered on large lots and nobody bothers to come trick-or-treating. I can leave the porch light off and skip the whole thing with a clear conscience. And I don't even have to think about whether my low opinion of Halloween is merely resentment because I never got any trick-or-treat candy when I was a kid.