Halloween gets a bad rap from some. For others Halloween is a favorite event day. However, for most of us it's just another day that we make a big deal out of-- there's a big build up, then it comes, and then it's gone, and that's that. A lot of us probably don't give much thought to that somewhat silly event called Halloween. But what if the celebration were gone? What if some of the anti-Halloween extremists got their ways and Halloween was outright banned? I think it would be devastating to the U.S. economy.
Retail business has a dependency on special events and holidays. Indeed, some businesses strictly cater to events and other nonessentials. Most people like to have fun and set aside some days that are special. Halloween has become one of those days and is now a tradition, not only in the U.S., but also in many places throughout the world. There are many products and services that are sold in relation to Halloween. If these parts of the economy were taken away it could be financially devastating not only for the days leading up to Halloween, but also throughout the year. Howso? Let me explain.
Starting with the obvious, all the candy, costumes, decorations, cards, and other elements associated with the event day make up a significant portion of sales by stores ranging from Walmart and your local supermarket to the various costume shops and other event-related businesses such as card and gift shops. Any periods that create boosts in sales for these merchandisers are going to be welcomed. There is also an effect of maintaining a continuity of habit. Merchandisers have a need to keep the momentum of spending ongoing as a raison d'etre to stay in business. When customer participation declines, sales fall flat, employees are laid off, and businesses eventually close. Therefore, one event leads to another. One special store sale leads to the next-- Special Summer Savings!, Christmas in July!, Huge Labor Day Sale!, Before and After Christmas sales, and while you're at it you might as well throw in Fall Sales featuring the event of Halloween. Adding excitement to the shopping experiences helps draw in the customers.
Advertising also needs the vavoom of the new. People get bored easily. New trends take hold, improved products become enticing, fashions change, and not much stays the same. The masses need the bread, but they also want the circuses. So as the seasons change, the holidays and events change. If we had Valentine's Day every month, the event would get old and become stale. Instead we have a whole series of event days that are widely different and celebrating different themes. Then just like having to check out the next big hit or buy the next fad, most of us feel the compulsion to get ready for whatever event is coming up next. And there you go-- we starting feeding more of our money to the beast of the providers of consumer product and the businesses turn to the advertising media to keep us all informed and excited. Two major players of the economy -- suppliers and promoters--- are vitalized by Halloween and that's definitely good for the economy in general.
Granted many of the jobs generated for the season are only temporary, but short-term is better than no term at all. It all means dollars infused into the economic cycle. Temp guy or girl can pay some bills for another month, go to a movie, eat at a restaurant, and buy a few Christmas presents. And hopefully somewhere along the way some of those dollars will end up in your pocket so you can do the same thing. That's seasonal work. Some people like it that way, fits their lifestyle maybe, and some people have to have it that way because they just need to work wherever and whenever. Whatever the case may be it can all be put under the label of Economic Stimulus and why would anyone want to discourage that, especially in the current economic situation.
Putting the impact of Halloween in a broader perspective, the event day is not totally seasonal for many. Some companies that are in the business of Halloween prepare year round for the season. For example, the costume and accessory suppliers work throughout the year developing and manufacturing product. Factories and small backroom operations employ thousands of workers to build up inventories for the merchandise to be shipped to the sellers. Truckers and other transporters move the product. Warehouse workers stay busy with storage and distribution. There are people in sales, administration, promotions, etc who are working continously to make sure their product is on the shelf and appealing to the consumer. After all we are talking about the Halloween Industry and noone should be wanting another industry in America to be facing crisis. Incidentally, some may argue that a lot of Halloween merchandise is manufactured outside the U.S. This is certainly true-- I am not thrilled with this and don't really want to get into this topic here--but there is probably more Halloween merchandise made in the U.S.A. than that of other industries such as the toy or electronic industry. Even when things are made in other countries there is some economic benefit derived by us in our country.
Halloween is the basis for a major industry force that helps drive not only our economy but also that of other countries. Here I have explained some of the more obvious aspects relating to the supply chain of the products involved the festive occasion of Halloween. Tomorrow I would like to continue with some of the more obscure things that contribute to the Halloween economy.
Please tell me what you think. Any Halloween haters out there--I'd love to hear your opinion about what I've said so far. Have I missed anything related to the obvious topics discussed above? If you have any personal experience with anything mentioned in this post or would like to provide some more specific evidence or examples please post them in the comments.