Consumerism scares away Halloween fun

by Denisa Caldova

MCT Campus

October isn’t only National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s also the time of year when people go crazy because of Halloween. Kids look forward to trick-or-treating, and even college students shop for costumes. It is an excuse for girls to dress in revealing clothes, and for many to spend unthinkable amounts of money on decorations and costumes. Justine Coyne wrote in the Pittsburgh Business Times that the National Retail Federation expects people to spend about $8 billion on Halloween decorations, candies and costumes.

The Halloween spirit is evident at San Diego State. The library’s front desk is decorated weeks ahead of time and the display windows at the SDSU Bookstore are full of pumpkins and other Halloween-related items. But that’s only the beginning. There are more decorations farther away from the classrooms. Students show their creativity by decorating their rooms in the residence halls and apartments.

I recently took note of an apartment with a huge web and a skeleton with a sensor hanging from the front door. Drawings of skeletons and ghosts also surrounded the door. Business management junior Christopher Straker and computer science senior Nino Suess, the two international exchange students living in this apartment were asked what lead them to decorate their apartment. “Without Halloween and everything it entails, it wouldn’t be the real American experience,” they said. However, a real American

Halloween experience might be a bit expensive. I wanted a real Halloween experience as well and therefore decided to find a perfect Halloween costume. It was a challenge to find a dress that wouldn’t reveal too much of my body, but in the end, I found something appropriate. When my friends asked why

I decided to dress like a dead bride, I answered it was the least revealing costume possible.

Looking back, I realize I paid $50 for a dress I will only wear once. Obviously this was just the beginning of my spending spree. With all the parties, cover fees and taxi rides, my Halloween experience racked up a whopping $150. Happy Halloween, credit card.

A holiday survey by the NRF estimates the U.S. will spend more than $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes, and $370 million on pet costumes. The average American is expected to spend almost $80 for Halloween.

Straker and Suess said they spent approximately $50 on their apartment decorations and $50 each on costumes. However, not everyone is happy spending money on costumes and decorations.

“I think Halloween deviated from its original intention. We buy pumpkins, candy and costumes. It is a consumer marketing at its finest,” finance junior Courtnie Gallego said. Gallego is right.

Nowadays, people forget the reasons behind Halloween. I wonder how many people know the word “Halloween” comes from “All Hollows Evening” and signified a time of a day for people to honor the saints. Spooky Halloween costumes people buy now are meant to frighten spirits of the dead to prevent them from possessing people.

Similar to many other holidays, people are mainly concerned with how much something will cost and the impression it will make on others. It’s obvious we live in a consumer culture, however, we shouldn’t blindly hand out credit cards or cash every time Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas come around.