Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

We couldn’t let the holiday pass without giving it at least a quick mention, could we?

Halloween has come under fire in recent years for what is seen as its increasing commercialisation and Americanisation. More and more marketing is being dedicated to the event, particularly by retailers flogging novelty gifts, costumes and confectionery. Halloween themed goods can be found almost everywhere, from supermarkets to the high street. And each year we are spending more and more on this All Hallows Eve.

In 2001, the UK spent around twelve million pounds on the "holiday". This year, the expected total for the same holiday is £120 million. The seven days leading up to Halloween are expected to be the second busiest shopping week of the year and, for retailers, it has now become the third most profitable event of the year. Christmas is the most profitable holiday, of course (big surprise there considering it is now at least a 3-month event), then comes Easter, then Halloween. Guy Fawkes and Valentines Day hardly get a look in compared to the big three.

So, does everyone love Halloween much more than they did five years ago? Or is it just that our addiction to shopping has now extended to yet another holiday? Either way, we can be consoled that we are still quite a long way from America’s Halloween. According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans will spend $4.95bn, yes billion, on Halloween this year. Now, I know the population is around 300 million, but that figure is scary (pardon the pun). Considering that spending on US political campaigns for the mid-term elections stands at just $1bn, it's nice to see that they have their priorities right over there!



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