Happy "Act a Fool Day" Day

"Its close to midnight and something evils lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes, You're paralyzed"

- Thriller, Michael Jackson

It’s that time of the year again. Time to act a fool. Let me call it by its government name: Halloween. I don’t need a calendar to know when October 31st is approaching ‘cause the signs are clear. Houses decorated with jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghosts, and cobwebs. The specialty aisle in the grocery store is all decked out in orange and black. Every sitcom, drama, and other television series are airing commercials for their Halloween special. Every club in America is throwing a party, offering such prizes as $500 to the best Ice-T & Coco costume. And if I hear one more thunder clap on the TV or radio…

Who said thunder had a thing to do with Halloween anyway? The History Channel states Halloween's origins date back 2,000 years ago to the ancient Celtics celebrating their New Year, November 1st. This day marked the end of summer & the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the New Year (October 31), the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On that night they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, people wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes.

European immigrants brought many Halloween customs with them to America. In the late 1800s, Americans made an effort to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. Now, at the top of the 21st century, this day has evolved into a celebration of assholery and buffoonery.

I’m sure most of you don’t give a darn about the origins of Halloween but I think it’s important to know your history. I witnessed a white man dressed as Superman stop in the middle of the street and yell “now watch me Superman dat hoe”. Acting a fool!

How do you explain what Halloween is to the kids? I’m trying to put together something coherent but it’s real hard. Here’s an idea:

Halloween is one of several “special days” created by our nation to incur a massive profit in a significantly short period of time thus fueling our economy and maintaining the value of the dollar. In other words sweetie, it keeps our country rich.

How was that? Oh you think I’m tripping? Going a tad too far? According to the National Retail Foundation’s 2008 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, consumers are expected to spend $5.07 billion this Halloween, up from $4.96 billion last year and only $3.29 billion two years ago. Other cool facts from the survey include:

The average consumer celebrating Halloween will spend $64.82 on Halloween, compared to $59.06 last year.

Halloween has become the third biggest occasion for adult parties after New Year's Eve and the Super Bowl

Halloween continues as one of the biggest decorating holidays of the year, second only to Christmas. 66.7% of consumers plan to purchase Halloween decor and 47.8 % plan to decorate their home or yard. Consumers will spend approximately $1.39 billion on decorations, an average of $26.59 for those planning purchases.

Because it is not a gift-giving or an apparel holiday, Halloween ranks lower than other annual holidays in terms of spending. Halloween remains the sixth-largest spending holiday after: Winter Holidays, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day.

Keep that in mind the next time you put on your pirate patch, witch hat, or vampire cape. Think about that while you feed your children junk. When someone says to you "Happy Halloween", before you answer back ask yourself what the heck does than mean. Instead of spending $64.82 on some bull, deposit it into an account that will accrue interest, make a tax-free donation to a charitable organization, use it to buy someone lunch or another random act of kindness. But please don't buy into ignorance all for the sake of having a free pass to act a damn fool for the day. That is one storm I do not sanction.

Of course scary things happen every day, not just October 31st. And you know the freaks come out at night ;-)

1 comment:

  1. I was interested in the origins of Halloween, but never did the research. Thanks.

    Wow, I didn't even realize that people spent that much, but it does all add up.