Falling back into the scares

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The days are shorter, the air is cooler and my friends are pulling out their skeleton costumes. Fall has returned and Halloween is less than a week away for fans young and old.

The last quarter of the calendar year is packed with the best holidays — I’m thinking about turkey stuffing as I’m writing this — and it all starts with costumed scares. I’ve got tons of fond memories going back to my elementary school days dressed like Buzz Lightyear or Sub Zero from Mortal Kombat. The tradition lasted through college with Ghostbusters getups.

But the best parts of Halloween are the haunted house trips, macabre stories and horror movie favorites. I’ve been burning through the whole spectrum of October-appropriate flicks, from the gloriously campy “Leprechaun” movies with Warwick Davis to bona-fide terror like “Hereditary” and “The Haunting of Hill House” on Netflix.


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All Hallows’ Eve is also extremely profitable, and that trend is expected to stay steady this year.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Proper Insights and Analytics and released on Sept. 20, retail spending on Halloween will amount to $9 billion this year, the second-highest in the survey’s 14-year history and just slightly less than the $9.1 billion record set in 2017.

Halloween revelers are expected to spend about $86.79 on average — up from $86.13 last year — with more than 175 million Americans planning to enjoy the spookiness. According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.7 billion on decorations, $2.6 billion on candy and $400 million on greeting cards.

“The economy is good and consumer confidence is high, so families are ready to spend on Halloween this year,” NRF President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay stated in the release. “Retailers are stocking up to supply children, pets and adults with their favorite decorations, candy and costumes for the season.”

Pet owners in particular have been getting more and more festive, with nearly 20 percent of people planning to have costumes for their pets this year, an increase from 16 percent in 2017.

“One of the biggest trends this year is the growth of spending on pet costumes,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist stated in the release. “Out of the 31.3 million Americans planning to dress their pets in costumes, millennials (25-34) are most likely to dress up their pets, the highest we have seen in the history of our surveys.”

Whether it’s parents, children or the neighbor’s dog, folks in Suffolk will enjoy a slew of Halloween activities on Saturday. Those that want to do some good in full creepy regalia can volunteer at the Zombie Cleanup at Morgan Memorial Library. Volunteers can get painted like living dead and then go clean up downtown with friends and family.

Whatever your plans are this weekend, enjoy the atmosphere and festivities. Also, check out the movie “Trick ‘r Treat” by director Michael Dougherty, one of my favorites.