US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Black cats, broomsticks, and budgets

Liz Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Tonight, trick-or-treaters will take to the streets, dressed up in costumes and seeking candy from their neighbors. As we know here at U.S. Catholic, we’ve got nothing to fear from Halloween--except maybe how conspicuous our consumption becomes.

Today The Atlantic calls attention to “the Halloween economy,” noting that we will spend about $6 billion on Halloween-related merriment such as costumes, candy, and decorations this year. (This includes $300 million on pet costumes--often resulting in some unhappy looking dogs.) And, the $6 billion we’ll spend on Halloween pales in comparison to our spending on all other major holidays--accounting for only 2.6% of all holiday expenses--such as the $136 billion we spend at Christmas.

Do we need a Super Committee to investigate the price tag of Americans buying candy and costumes? Granted, a debate over spending money on candy and costumes isn’t as serious as determining how much money to include on either defense or healthcare for a nation's budget. But it’s still a little shocking to see the bottom line of what we spend on Halloween, knowing that our country has other areas of great need.

Is this spending over the top? Should we be placing our resources somewhere else? Or should we be allowed to have a bit of fun (and spend some money), especially given the frightening state of our economy?