Diary

Halloween v. the Presidential Election

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Although most of 2020 could have been pulled straight from a horror film plot or alternate universe, we are now fully entrenched in the always-anticipated spookiest season of all, Halloween. Coincidentally, this traditionally festive, yet chilling holiday, falls three days before another eerie (and potentially scary) event, the 2020 presidential election.

It is almost impossible to understate the importance of every presidential election. However, this one could be met with more tension than a reunion episode of The Bachelor, in a year unlike anything most of us have ever experienced.

Between the sudden onset of the horrifying coronavirus, lockdown protests, BLM and Antifa-led riots, looting and burning of several cities, the economic downturn, a pre-election Supreme Court vacancy, and an invasion of murder hornets—some are calling this the most consequential election in American history.

It is undeniable that America is deeply divided. And while many of us attempt to reflect as to how we got to this point as a nation, others look to the festivities of the autumnal holiday as a way to bring neighbors together, bridge differences, and consume too much candy.

The jury is still out on whether or not this year’s election will break the all-time turnout record. Yet, based on preliminary data, Americans are still prioritizing this fun and spooky holiday.

In 2016, Americans spent more than $9 billion on Halloween candy, costumes, decorations, and other holiday treats. Paling in comparison, the 2016 election, which was the most expensive election in American history at the time, rang in around $6.8 billion at the federal level.

Suffice to say, it is highly unlikely that the same phenomenon will occur in this election period. The total spending for the 2020 election has already more than doubled that of the 2016 election. Current projections have the 2020 election wrapping up with a total price tag of around $14 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In case you are curious, Democrats have nearly doubled the spending by Republican candidates across the ballot.

In addition, the National Retail Federation reports that consumer spending for Halloween is expected to slightly decrease due to the coronavirus pandemic. Spooky season spending for 2020 should ring in around $8.05 billion, a slight decrease from 2019’s $8.78 billion. However, this amount reflects the fact that 148 million U.S. adults will still participate in Halloween-related activities despite the pandemic.

Although U.S. spending on Halloween will not surpass that of the election this year, the fact that an overwhelming percentage of American adults are still participating in the holiday is deeply indicative of Americans’ being tired of the doom-and-gloom rhetoric propagated by the Left and the liberal mainstream media concerning COVID-19.

We all saw Joe Biden tell the nation that hundreds of thousands of Americans will die from COVID-19 under the current administration, during the final presidential debate on October 22.

But, Biden and the Left have not caught onto one glaring realization: Americans are tired of the fear-mongering and we are more than smart enough to comprehend what is going on. Moreover, we are more than capable of making our own decisions regarding our health and safety in the midst of a pandemic.

When it comes to politics, Americans either tune-in or tune-out. This year has been so deeply politicized that average Americans are tired of adhering to mandates.  The vast majority of us are also sick and tired of pundits claiming that catastrophe is constantly lurking right around the corner, like a hobgoblin that won’t give up. Despite the media’s pandemic-crazed fetish for grim news, we would rather enjoy age-old traditions with those we love, including fun costumes and sweet treats.

As a rule, people are generally capable of making the decisions they feel best to maintain their health and well-being. Americans were choosing to stay home, socially distance, and wear masks long before the lockdowns and mask mandates. The decision of participating in this spooky holiday is no different. However, the real fright of this Halloween season may be the beginning of a holiday season wherein our elected officials determine if we are allowed to celebrate our favorite holidays with those we love and cherish. Hopefully, our government leaders will refrain from playing the grim reaper for much longer.

Samantha Fillmore ([email protected]) is a state government relations manager at The Heartland Institute.