Halloween is fast becoming the most popular holiday in America. In fact, the U.S. has exported the holiday to many other countries around the world. It has also generated millions of dollars of revenue for businesses that provide Halloween-related services and products. Commercially, it's right behind Christmas for the most profitable holiday in America.
Personally, I love Halloween because it allows people to share feelings that they don't normally share. Fear and wonder are often forgotten in our modern culture of positive thinking. This year my partner and I put together our first "yard haunt". It was a lot of work for one night, but we are very pleased with how it turned out. Now, the local kids and their parents will have a big surprise when they come to our house for trick or treat. That little bit of worry and fear that those kids will experience is what makes the holiday so much fun!
By Don Scarborough - family photo, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1464661
Halloween is a holiday that lets us, for one day, think about death, but in a way that is safe and fun. For one day, we stop denying that death exists and we stare it in the face, albeit the goofy face of frankenstein's monster. We also get a change, through wearing costumes, to assume another identity and look at the world in new ways. This is especially important to children who often feel powerless. And I think that's a good thing.
More info on Halloween history can be found in Lisa Morton's Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween. Here is a short quote from the book:
"Every year, children and adults alike take to the streets dressed as witches, demons, animals, celebrities, and more. They carve pumpkins and play pranks, and the braver ones watch scary movies and go on ghost tours. There are parades, fireworks displays, cornfield mazes, and haunted houses--and, most important, copious amounts of bite-sized candy. The popularity of Halloween has spread around the globe to places as diverse as Russia, China, and Japan, but its association with death and the supernatural and its inevitable commercialization has made it one of our most misunderstood holidays"