Author: Gabriela Hein
Graphic: Jörg Huylebrouck
Date: 19th October 2021
After the COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary to restrict Halloween celebrations in 2020, Americans are looking forward to having a blast this year. And they are ready to shop until they drop:
According to the National Retail Federation, it is projected that U.S.-Americans will spend USD 10 billion on the Halloween season. Compared to 2020 (USD 8 billion), this represents a clear increase.
Nowhere else in the world is so much dedication and emphasis invested in decorating houses and front yards than in the U.S.A. But not only do Americans give their homes a makeover with spooky paraphernalia, they themselves love to dress up in costumes.
The most popular costume in 2019 for adults were witches, vampires, and superheroes. Children loved to dress up as princesses, superheroes, or Spider-Man. And to make sure that every family member was in the Halloween spirit, dogs and cats were most frequently dressed up in pumpkin costumes by Americans.
No entryway is complete without the famous pumpkin face — the jack-o’-lantern. Last year, a survey indicated that 151 million Americans intended to carve pumpkins and spent approximately US$686 million on this activity. That is nearly twice as much as in 2019 (US$377 million). The tradition of the jack-o’-lantern can be traced back to Irish immigrants, who took it to the U.S.A. and expanded upon it there.
Halloween was one of the four most important Celtic festivals and had its beginnings more than 2000 years ago. Called “Samhain” in Irish, it marked the beginning of winter on November 1.
It was believed that on the eve of the festival, spirits walked the earth because the border with the realm of the dead blurred that night. Before going to bed, people lit fires in their kitchens and prepared food for the ancestors in case they came back. Because of this and to this day, Halloween is celebrated on October 31. The name Halloween evolved from the designation for the day before All Saints’ Day: All Hallows’ Eve.
Trick! By far, chocolate was the most popular Halloween candy. This was followed by gummy bears, caramels, and lollipops. And did you know that one-quarter of all candy sold in the U.S.A. is purchased for Halloween?
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