Wow, Halloween Is Big Business! Oh, You Knew That Already.

If you are young and hip or have youngsters at home, you probably know that Halloween is big business.  For some of us older folks, we should have known.  All that we needed to do was to look at the clues.

One of the clues is that 300 million dollars -- 300 million -- are spent on pet costumes.  Another clue is that large vacant stores are rented to be Halloween Expresses or similar outlets.  Diabetes and obesity be damned for one day as candy sales will exceed $2 billion.

Some stores like Target have several aisles of costumes, decorations, and Halloween candy.  The selection simply is amazing -- or overwhelming.  You can buy big skulls, little skulls, light-up skulls, glow-in-the dark skulls, bags-full of skulls, candy skulls, glitter skulls, and on and on.  Pumpkins now come in a variety of colors.  For $299, you can buy a life-sized coffin with a Dracula character who sits up, moans, and talks; for $199, a cackling witch straight out of the Wizard of Oz.

This is not your parents’ Halloween or the Halloween of my youth.

Getting ready for the Monster Mash at the Capitol Bowl meant figuring out a “costume.”  That, in turn, meant a visit to one of the Halloween specialty stores.  Thirty to 40 feet of one wall was devoted to wigs for adults.  Children’s wigs occupied comparable space.  Adult costumes took up approximately one-third of the store.

As I looked around, I realized that adult costumes run the gamut from innocent fun to suggestive or provocative to downright uncouth.  If they were divided by movie ratings, they would be PG, PG-14, and R.  Now, the Halloween store may have an X-rated section somewhere, but you probably need to be over 18 and go behind a curtain.

That realization brought on the ever-present nagging Little Voice.  “You put come as your favorite monster on the poster and fliers.  The postings on the internet invite folks to come in costume.”  My response was, “So what?” 

But, then I walked by a giant penis costume, the little voice said, “That!” 

Oh . . . .

Okay, Little Voice, a risk of some R-rated stuff exists.  Yes, Little Voice, we occasionally forget that young people are in the room and say something we should not have.  Like the time I tripped over Robert’s cord, uttered, “S**t!” and was scolded, "There are young kids in the room!"

But, Little Voice, you have to trust people.  Nobody whom we know would plan to wear a costume which is clearly inappropriate for an all ages crowd.  Suggestive maybe.  Creatively off-color maybe.  But not so offensive as to jeopardize our welcome at the Capitol Bowl.  Be assured, Little Voice, no giant penises will attend the Monster Mash.

Was the Little Voice assuaged?  I do not know.  But, at least, it shut up.

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