Posted on November 6, 2015, 7:33 p.m.
by Madalyn Atherton.
As summer ends and the fall season looms closer, you can sense a shift in the air that’s more than just the changing of the seasons. Candy, costumes and smoke machines are right around the corner, and our generation couldn’t be happier.
Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on Halloween this year. It’s obvious our society loves horror.
The “why” is a little murky. There have been many psychological studies, but Stephen King’s essay “Why We Crave Horror Movies,” I think, explains it best (and most eloquently, being a horror novelist and all). He says we are all mad to some degree and horror media allows us to let that madness out, if only for a while.
Whatever the reason we love horror, companies are definitely taking notice.
“The Walking Dead” premiered in 2010 and has become so popular it frequently beats out “Sunday Night Football” in ratings.
Everywhere you look in stores once mid-September comes, you see Halloween-themed things. Beauty brands like Lush come out with Halloween-themed products that fly off shelves. Candy is in season-appropriate packaging. The front section of Target is an orange and black dreamland. Spirit Halloween stores pop up overnight. Michaels and Hobby Lobby fill up with themed decorations.
The market share for horror movies, once only enjoyed by a niche few, has greatly increased since 1995, though it has tapered off in the past few years.
The online community loves Halloween. Many people say that as soon as September starts, it’s basically Halloween. I think only some of them are kidding.
But why now are horror and Halloween taking over the world?
These days, our demographics are so much more niche and people are much more accepting of themselves and what they like. With the rise of social media and the Internet, people can shout to the sky about what they love and someone somewhere will agree with them. Our world has become one giant global community and if no one in your real life is as obsessed as you with something, someone on the Internet is — usually, way more than one someone.
A article in the LA Times said, “Once mostly the purview of children, Halloween has grown into a major consumer holiday that now includes 18- to 34-year-old millennials and older adults who seize the opportunity for a night of escapism.”
Denise Delahorne of DDB Worldwide told Forbes that Halloween is so popular because “there’s no stress to it.” People don’t feel pressured to see their families or get a date for a holiday work function. Adults have hijacked the carefree night of costumed frivolity.
Since millennials are the most stressed generation, it’s no wonder we embrace a day to escape from our lives. We’re also more than willing to use our $200 billion of buying power to let companies know it.