Turning Trick to Treat: Changing How We Celebrate Halloween

Jared Kim, Staff Writer

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the website or its affiliates.*

Tis’ the season to put out the pumpkins and hang up the cheap decor as people prepare for Halloween festivities. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this widely-celebrated event was one of the most exciting times of the year. However, when quarantine put a nationwide pause on Halloween fun, it allowed us to re-evaluate our spooky-season traditions. Questions of why and how we celebrate Halloween arose. Now is the time to make adjustments to our current traditions in favor of newer, more sensible and more ethical ones. 

On a national scale, 6.3 billion dollars is expected to be spent on Halloween costumes and candy this year. All of that money is being spent on a small six-hour window where children get sugar highs from candy. After that, the costumes become too small, the leftover candy is eventually thrown out and the sugar wears off as everyone returns to their normal lives. However, this is not the case with other holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, where money is spent on more genuine, meaningful gifts that last beyond a fleeting moment. Money should be spent on items that kindle bonds between people, rather than Halloween’s trivial sweets.  

Not only is the candy detrimental to your wallet, but the money made from it contributes to corrupt corporations. For example, Nestle is known to be one of the most immoral corporations due to its unethical marketing and manufacturing practices. The cocoa used to make their popular chocolates, such as KitKat, has a history of complications with child labor, unequal payment and abuse. Halloween wears the innocent facade of making children happy, but this joy is at the expense of other children across the world being forced into abusive labor environments. Unfortunately, the commercialized nature of Halloween only strengthens harmful business practices. By establishing these candies at the center of Halloween traditions, companies can use the holiday as a method of gaining money and power to further expand corrupt visions. 

Furthermore, Halloween perpetuates harmful eating habits in children. The holiday is dedicated to feeding kids sugar, and the damage can extend beyond the single-night festivities. Halloween makes candy easily accessible, but this influx of sweets often leads parents to put a limit on the amount that their children can consume. Unfortunately, studies show that trying to prevent children from eating certain foods by restricting them is counterproductive. The practice often leads to an increase in children’s intake of restricted foods and the risk of excessive weight gain. Halloween increases sugar consumption both during and after the holiday season, creating unhealthy relationships with sugar early on for children. 

These increasingly complex concerns emphasize just how much work must be done to align our traditions with what we value as a society. Before the pandemic, trick-or-treating used to be an activity we looked forward to – an innocent, fun way of celebrating with friends and family. Naiveté allowed us to act without worry, entranced by jack-o-lanterns, skeletons and candy. To be able to genuinely celebrate the holiday, we must make a conscious effort to adjust our societally normalized Halloween traditions. Advocating for better business practices, buying more ethical candies or donating your extra Halloween candy are all excellent ways of celebrating a more considerate Halloween. While maintaining the spooky season is important, we must ensure that Halloween doesn’t take from other people around the world simply to allow for our one night of candied festivities.