Down­right spooky to see Hal­loween morph into Har­ror­ween

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mike Zielin­ski Colum­nist

The retail cy­cle al­ways is out in front of the reg­u­lar cal­en­dar so the Hal­loween shop­ping sea­son is upon us. Of course, once Hal­loween passes, it’s full bore into the Christ­mas shop­ping cy­cle that now lasts al­most as long as pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paigns.

Peo­ple, both kids and adults, love Hal­loween be­cause it’s the one day you can be some­one else. Then again, if you’re to­tally en­am­ored with your­self, this may not be such a big deal.

The rest of us make Hal­loween a re­ally big deal. To­tal con­sumer spend­ing on Hal­loween is ex­pected to be $8.4 bil­lion this year. The Hal­loween home dec­o­rat­ing busi­ness is sec­ond only to Christ­mas.

The Hal­loween cos­tumes that are trend­ing this year are mer­maids, princesses, su­per he­roes, vil­lains, zom­bies, the Harry Pot­ter cast and, nat­u­rally, ghosts.

It’s up­lift­ing to hear that the fun is back in Hal­loween for there was a time a few years ago when it seemed more steeped in vi­o­lence, res­onat­ing with the dark side of Amer­i­cans. Cash reg­is­ters were ring­ing and re­tail­ers were howling in de­light over sell­ing an in­or­di­nate num­ber of corpses, sev­ered limps and butchered body parts.

It was down­right spooky to see Hal­loween morph into Har­ror­ween, hardly a be­nign cel­e­bra­tion of witches and goblins. Some cited the slasher movies of the 1970s, specif­i­cally the 1978 hor­ror flick Hal­loween, for the evo­lu­tion of hor­ror in Hal­loween.

It was as if they tore up the old assem­bly man­ual on Hal­loween and dis­trib­uted a bloody new one. Fright is a tor­sion springloaded de­vice that was be­ing wound ever tighter by mer­chan­dis­ers who laid the gore on so thick it made shrieks and screams leap from one throat to the next.

Thank heav­ens that ev­ery­thing in life, out­side of el­e­va­tors, is cycli­cal and Hal­loween no longer is perched en­tirely on the butcher block.

Granted, there al­ways be some gore in Hal­loween but it is re­fresh­ing that it has tog­gled back to the days when it was not just about the maimed.

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