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Don’t Get Wrapped Up In Commercialized Holidays

By Erik Folgate

As you know, it’s Halloween today, and after seeing the sweet looking Google banner, I felt inclined to write something about Halloween. I’m only 26, so my younger years are still well remembered. Halloween was always a pretty fun time in elementary school and middle school. It was the only time where my parents would let me rot my teeth out eating candy and walk around the neighborhood after dark. Kids love this holiday and parents love carving pumpkins with their kids and seeing all of the cute kids in their costumes. But, there’s also those punky, jerky 13 year olds that ask for candy and then egg your house two hours later. Halloween has become an American tradition.

According to Snopes.com, Halloween is the sixth largest holiday in terms of consumer spending. We spend about $5 billion dollars a year on Halloween related expenses. Now, I’ll try not to sound like a dud about this, but come on. Dropping a couple hundred bucks every year on costumes, haunted houses, decorations, candy, and parties? I am sure some people drop thousands, and I’m sure some people don’t drop a dime on Halloween. The point is that we, as consumers, need to start purposefully spending money on things that are the most important to us. The commercialization of holidays has gotten out of hand. Halloween is just a drop in the bucket to what we spend on the Winter holidays, which is about $475 billion dollars! That is about the equivalent of a third of the national budget! I love Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Mothers/Fathers Day, but hasn’t it gotten out of hand? The fact that we’re now dropping gobs of money on Halloween, which is a pagan holiday that we adopted from the Irish, is just silly to me. The Irish and Scottish actually celebrate it with some type of meaning behind it. Unless you really believe that you can cross over to the other dimension and speak to dead people, or cast spells on those you dislike with witchcraft or wizardry, then you have to conclue that the Halloween is just a commercialized holiday in the United States.

Having said that, if Halloween brings your family together, and you enjoy dressing up your kids to trick-or-treat, then by all means celebrate the heck out of Halloween. My challenge is for us to take a step back around the holidays and evaluate what is most important to you when it comes to money. Don’t just spend money without a purpose. If you’re going to spend some money on Halloween, turn it into some quality time with your friends or family. If you’re going to spend a bunch of money on Thanksgiving and Christmas, make sure that your loved ones are fully involved in the thought process when buying them a gift. Don’t just buy gifts, because it’s what everyone else does. If you spend with a purpose, you’ll find that you spend less money by cutting out all of the superflous spending.

Have fun tonight, and be safe!

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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