Halloween is certainly one of the most popular holidays in the United States, considering the $10 billion plus spent in 2021 on Halloween festivities according to the National Retail Federation, not to mention the $255.6 million made on the most recent Halloween movie. But there’s no denying that Halloween has changed in how people celebrate it from years past. So, is Halloween dying out, or is it making a comeback?
Like some other holidays, Halloween isn’t necessarily dying out but is undergoing an evolution that allows it to adjust with the times. That means that Halloween is neither dying out nor coming back but is only changing to fit within the grander scheme of the modern days we live in.
As a mom and teacher, I’ve always participated in Halloween traditions common to our location in the US. In some schools, kids have parties and wear their costumes, but in other places where we’ve lived, it’s basically ignored until they go home. I’ll share my thoughts on the transformation of Halloween and what that means for us today.
Is Halloween a dying holiday?
The thing about all of the holidays is that the way they were celebrated hundreds of years ago or even decades is no longer the same as how they are celebrated today. That’s because holidays naturally have to undergo a transformation that will allow them to fit with the newer and more modern way we live.
The same goes for Halloween, which might not resemble the traditional way of celebrating it but is still very much alive.
Halloween is not a dying holiday, though it may seem so to some people. This is because the way it is celebrated has changed quite a bit over the years. But considering that over 10 billion dollars is estimated to be spent on Halloween in the US in just one year, it is alive and well.
History of Halloween-An Overview
One of the most popular holidays celebrated all over the world and not only in the US is Halloween. Halloween basically became a cultural phenomenon that has spanned decades due to how this is the only time of the year where we celebrate spookiness and get to act like kids even as adults. As such, it has always been a big hit in the US because of how kids are allowed to parade the streets wearing their most creative Halloween costumes.
But what about the history of Halloween?
Historically, Halloween has changed quite a bit from it’s earliest origins. Most historians attribute Halloween to the Celtic festival of Samhain, where they celebrated the end of the summer and harvest time before the coming winter. Celts dressed up in animal skins, created bonfires, and told stories trying to ward off evil spirits believed to walk the earth during this transition.
Over time, the Catholic Church converted many Celts and a merging of traditions and customs occurred from the Church’s belief in Saints and After Life and the Celts ideas of ghosts and evil spirits.
Today many all around the world celebrate Halloween in some form or another. From Mexico’s Day of the Dead festivities to the Obon festival of Japan, there are threads connecting each culture to a common Halloween of costumes, candy, and stories.
But we have to understand that we are now living in a changing environment where people are now more concerned about staying indoors due to safety and security risks. There are even kids that have become more obsessed with digital technology to the point that they no longer resemble the kids two decades ago in the sense that they would rather stay at home playing their games and watching their shows.
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With all that said, one of the things that some of the younger adults would say today is that Halloween is a dying holiday because of how it no longer resembles the same kind of holiday that it once was when they were kids. But is Halloween really a dying holiday?
To say that a holiday is dying means that it is slowly fading away from the minds of an entire culture to the point that they no longer celebrate it.
Halloween is anything but that because, truth be told, it still is something that we are reminded of every year not only by the retailers that want to make business out of Halloween but also by the different forms of media that we encounter on a regular basis. (Simply refer back to the information provided at the beginning of this article.)
While it might be true that Halloween is no longer the same as it once was, such that we don’t often see kids parading the streets in their costumes and teenagers going to Halloween parties, that doesn’t mean that the holiday has died.
Halloween is still celebrated, just in ways that are safer and more in line with the changing times.
One of the issues that parents have regarding Halloween is the fact that children are no longer as safe as they once were and that even the candy that they get from different houses around the neighborhood might not actually be candy safe to consume.
These parents do have a valid point, and that’s why Halloween no longer resembles what it once was before. We hear many cases on a regular basis of dangers for our children, from missing children, to children abused or harmed physically. It makes a lot of sense for parents to want to protect their kids from walking door to door, asking strangers for candy!
On top of that, teenagers don’t attend parties for Halloween in a lot of places. Teens get together regularly at school, work, hanging out at friends’ houses, or just constantly communicating with their cell phones. There’s no real excitement for a Halloween party to do those things.
Still, even though Halloween is no longer the same as it once was, the holiday is not dying.
Halloween is merely undergoing a change that will allow it to adjust with the times, just like how all holidays have to adapt to the more modern way we live in. If you look at all of the different holidays and how they were celebrated maybe half a century ago, you will notice stark differences. I mean how many of us ‘go a wassailing’ at Christmas time or ‘roast chestnuts on an open fire’, as the songs sing?
The same applies to Halloween because changes in the way we live require that the way we celebrate this holiday should also change and adjust.
Is trick or treating going away?
One of the reasons why people are saying that Halloween is dying is that they no longer see plenty of children parading the streets in their costumes and knocking on people’s doors to ask for candy. To some extent, that is true. But is it actually true that trick or treat is a dying tradition?
Like Halloween isn’t dying, trick or treating isn’t going away. The tradition lives on, but is practiced differently by most people. From trick-or-treating at malls or just going to family and friends’ houses to doing ‘truck or treat’, kids continue to trick-or-treat today.
In many cases, trick or treating has become a more restricted activity. Some towns limit the time of day for trick-or-treating. For example, some towns have said no trick-or-treating after 9 PM while others say it must be concluded before dark! So, while American suburbs traditionally follow the classic kind of trick or treat that we are used to, there are some communities that actually arrange a more restricted kind of trick or treat that puts the children’s safety at the top of the priority list.
Some communities host trick or treat gatherings on weekends even if Halloween occurs during the week that year, to make trick-or-treating more family-friendly.
Then there are businesses that have special trick-or-treating for kids, especially zoos, museums, and malls. Many years we took our four kids to malls to trick-or-treat in the afternoon. It was safer, convenient, and our kids were home in bed at their normal time.
Then there are lots of families who live in apartments and condo building making traditional trick-or-treating difficult. We spent many years in this kind of living. Our kids still trick-or-treated but we didn’t get many trick-or-treaters ourselves! Our kids trick-or-treated to the main office level or community center and participated that way. One year, even our dog got treats!
Churches often do a truck-or-treat event where congregants open their trunks and fill them with candy in the parking lot. Then kids dressed in costumes walk from car to car to get treats. Sometimes they also have costume contests, bonfires, and other sorts of party fun to entertain kids and families.
All of these accommodations have been necessary because of our changing lifestyles. This allows the kids to still enjoy Halloween, but differently.
So, all that said, trick or treat isn’t necessarily dying or going away, but is only taking on a new form that will allow the kids to enjoy Halloween in a safe and secured manner, more convenient and amenable to today’s lifestyle.
It might not be the same as it was back in our day but the point is that the Halloween spirit still lives on regardless of how much the times have changed.
Wrapping Up Halloween Is Dying
So to wrap it all up, Halloween is not dying and trick-or-treating isn’t going away anytime soon! Halloween is a multi-billion dollar industry and celebrated all over the world!
It’s not the same as it was in our day, nor is it the same as it was thousands of years ago when first practiced by the Celtics. But rest assured, it’ll still be here for years to come!
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