Remember when Halloween was out there all on its own, a long time before the rest of the year end festivities? You made a costume out of three paper plates and called yourself Speedy Alka-Seltzer. Done. Total cost three cents.
One of my first clients was Leewards. It was a chain of craft stores gobbled up by Michael’s. I was a consultant to them when – much to even their surprise – the money/time people spent on Halloween made it the Number Two holiday behind Christmas. That’s right. Hand-beaded goblins and macramé brooms and embroidered witches displaced the bunny kit cakes and paint-by-number praying hands of Easter (this may be close to a devastating political observation, but I’m not stepping in that cow pie).
Now, as we all know, Halloween is a kick-off for Turkey Day. No time elapses between the two. Pumpkins rotting at the door are discarded and immediately replaced with oak leaf wreaths. The last handful of fun-size Zagnuts is dumped from the candy dish to make way for chocolate marshmallow turkeys. The salt and pepper ghosts fly back to the china cabinet while the pilgrims with holes in their heads migrate to the tabletop.
Of course, Thanksgiving bumps smack into Christmas when the Black Friday chutes open. And the New Year Sales begin about the middle of Christmas Eve.
October through January is now one mega festivity. And if retailers can make Groundhog day just a little bigger deal, then Halloween and Easter may one day actually merge. Boy oh boy, I hope I’m around to see it.