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The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

One of the peaks of American consumerism: Halloween

Halloween is the second largest retail holiday in the US. How does this effect us?
Sasha Chernikov
Spirit Halloween, a Halloween themed store that is only open during the month of October.

On average, 12.2 billion dollars is spent on Halloween according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), with half of the money being spent on candy to be handed out and the other half being spent on Halloween costumes, decorations, greeting cards, and pumpkins. Halloween is repeated year after year (with the exception of 2020), bringing in a higher gross domestic product (GDP) and more job offerings. Even so, Halloween has raised problems with the environment and climate activists.

Consumerism is the idea that the more people want to buy goods and services, the better. Many believers in consumerism believe money brings happiness and is the most important factor in growing the economy. Typically, consumerist societies, such as the US,  measure their growth in GDP, which is the total value of goods produced and services provided by a country each year.

However, consumerist societies that partake in mass production often do so at the expense of the environment. Many activists criticize consumerist societies and their lack of caution when using environments.

Furthermore, activists against consumerism also believe the people buying are at fault. If there wasn’t as much need for as many products there wouldn’t be as many negative repercussions.

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“They’re [the companies] producing the fossil fuels we all use. We have traced them back to the oil and gas companies that extract and market the coal,” Richard Heede, an environmental specialist and scholar, said in an interview with journalist Gaby del Valle, “So, we think they have some responsibility for mitigating and transforming the carbon economy because they’re in the driver’s seat about which resources are extracted and marketed.”

Major holidays like Halloween and Christmas are fueled by consumerism. Halloween, to be specific, was inspired by a pagan holiday called the Celtic Festival of Samhain, but it was pushed by bigger companies in the 1950s as these companies saw an untouched area in the market and urged the tradition of  trick-or-treating in order to have people spend their money on candy, decorations, and costumes.

There are also companies that open seasonally and only sell Halloween items such as Spirit Halloween. While this business practice is quite rare, it is a smart one. This helps cut down the costs of staying open all year and only profiting from the one time of year people buy their merchandise: October.

It is hard to tell people to stop celebrating Halloween because of the environment. Seven out of ten Americans trick-or-treat and/or celebrate the holiday according to the NRF. In general, Halloween is a pretty loved holiday, so wiping it is not an option.

Nevertheless, there are small ways that people can make a difference. Here at MAST Academy, we have one student who’s doing something so that consumerism stays a positive. Senior, Isabel del Valle, founded Share the Boo during her 7th-grade year, a donation drive in which students can donate used costumes that would have probably just ended up in a landfill. She also collects bags of individually wrapped candy to create smaller bags of candy to give out.

“I saw a video on Instagram of these two guys that had collected a bunch of costumes and did a small event in their neighborhood and kids came and got a costume,” Del Valle said, “I thought it was really cool since Halloween was my favorite holiday. I wanted to do something similar in my community.”

Del Valle also had a CBS article written about her and her efforts to help the community. She says that Share the Boo has helped over 2,000 children and she plans on helping more during her time in college.

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About the Contributor
Sasha Chernikov
Sasha Chernikov, Staff Writer
Sasha Chernikov is a freshman student excited to write for The Beacon. Chernikov previously attended Ponce de Leon Middle and although MAST Academy is intimidating to her, she is, “happy to be here.” Journalism is interesting to her because she loves informative writing and looks forward to “reinterpreting” stories. She would consider a career in journalism in the future. One thing you can expect from her as a reader is that she will “deliver the truth”, Chernikov says. You can also expect some sports profiles from her as she loves interviewing people and anything athletic.
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