Dressing Up for the Occasion: The Appeal of Halloween on Americans
According to the National Research Federation, Americans spend about nine billion dollars on Halloween, specifically on costumes, decorations, candy, and greeting cards. This reflects how invested people are in dressing up and decorating for the festivities.
Literally for Everyone
Be it straw cowgirl hats from A.A. Callister or English men’s wear, Halloween allows everyone to get dressed up in unconventional ways. While people might assume this is only for children, adults and even pets can participate in the event.
These Halloween participants would then follow scripted behavior, such as going outside to do trick-or-treat in the neighborhood.
An “Anti-Festival” of Sorts
According to many, Halloween is an anti-festival of sorts, in which it subverts things that are iconic of other holidays. For example, the pumpkin normally served in Thanksgiving can become a jack-o-lantern. Whereas Christmas celebrates a birth, Halloween highlights death, ghosts, or zombies.
Norms are also subverted; kids may to go out after dark, while people are able to cross-dress without much scrutiny.
A Reflect of Pop Culture
Lastly, cultural historians note the tendency of Halloween costumes to be a reflection of what’s currently popular or relevant in society today.
You can see this in how many people might dress up as a certain character in a memorable Hollywood film or Netflix show that got released during the year. You can also observe this in how shopping outlets’ certain costumes might get sold more than others.
Americans spend a lot on Halloween. This is because everyone can participate in it, as well as its subversive appeal to some.
Halloween also mirrors what the public is currently into, based on how many people dress up as the same hero or character. These elements show how the occasion is worth dressing up for.