01 November 2010

We could spend our Halloween money elsewhere: a challenge to current thinking

Now that Halloween has past, I can now state just how much I dislike Halloween.  It is a ‘holiday’ that really makes no sense to me.

The process itself is logically puzzling.  Think about it.  We dress up our children, and ourselves, in clothing that would not be acceptable any other day of the year.  We then let them outside of the house in these radical pieces of clothing. But, we don’t just let them outside, we parade them door to door to ask complete strangers, while wearing these weird outfits, for candy! Than these strangers agree to give your child candy.  This would never happen any other day.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Plus, did you know that the average Canadian Halloween participant spends $60 on Halloween?  It is assumed that about $20-$40 of that is spent on candy alone.  Right on par with about how much Americans spend on Halloween.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, right?  It seems like money well spent.  Well it adds up to over $7 Billion spent on Halloween in North America.

Let’s assume that that money was spent elsewhere.  Let’s assume, for easy math, that in a city of a million people, just one out of ten people donated that $20 for candy to a local homeless shelter. They are strangers who are always dressed inappropriately for the weather, but we rarely give anything to them when they ask.  So 100,000 people donate $20, which equals $2 Million!  That’s a lot of money that could go back into our community, and do some good for our community.

Two million dollars! That homeless shelter will have thought they won the lottery.  Especially when you think of when that shelter does a 12-hour radio-thon for fundraising, and all they get is about $50,000.

It’s ironic I think that we are willing to spend $20-$40 on materials to give to strange dressed people on Halloween, but we cringe at the idea of giving $20 to strangers at a homeless shelter.


Nov 3 Note:
-I do admit this thought can be applied to other holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Valentines (except that these holidays we tend to give things to people we know).  Plus to other things like eating out, movie rentals, and so on.  The main point to be taken away from this is: that it can simple to shave back money on some of our extravagant holiday budgets and potentially put that money to 'better' use.