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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor

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Halloween Spending Is Getting Scarier


Halloween spending hikes in this terrible economy is a real horror show! A recent National Retail Federation survey shows a record 170 million Americans plan to spend $8 billion on Halloween. Here is the breakdown: $1.4 billion on adult costumes, $1.1 billion on children's costumes and $370 million on pet costumes. Why do we spend a lot of money pretending to be someone else, cloaking our true identity? Or is the costume we wear our real identity, a secret fantasy revealed on Oct. 31?

One would think that the world is horrifying enough, filled with brutality, war, terror and poverty, so why do we disguise ourselves as zombies and ghouls? However, this is precisely the point. When people feel frightened and stressed, they need to escape from reality and confront the fear of death in a controlled situation like watching a horror movie; then the lights come on and the audience leaves unscathed. Wearing a vampire or big bird costume helps us to laugh at the absurdity of life diluting the daily scary stuff in our personal lives.

You can get to know people better on Halloween. It’s funny that we all tend to hide the authentic self by putting on different faces and even changing our manner of speech in daily dealings with others. How many times do we say yes when we want to say no? Then on Halloween we select a costume that holds a key to unlocking our true spirit.

Here are some Halloween costumes and what they reveal about the wearer:
  • Vampires and zombies - wrestling with the fear of death, coping with energy vampires who rob you of time and space, or experiencing life with numbness like the living dead
  • Dictators, presidential candidates – the need for personal empowerment
  • Witches and sorcerers – magic is a great social equalizer, transforming a drab existence with wealth and comfort, the ability to transform
  • Big Bird – The spontaneous joy of childhood, releasing the free-spirited inner child who perceives innocence and goodness
  • The naughty nurse, the submissive, or librarian – unleashed sexual longing from the constraints of social/moral censorship
Keep in mind that after you release bottled-up stress and experience much-needed fun on Halloween, you will have to ultimately face the scary bills and the nightmarish weight gain from Halloween candy. While you might act out on Halloween because you feel like you have lost control in your daily reality, be aware that you are still in control of your budget both for purchases and caloric intake.

This year try downsizing by simplifying your costume with a creative homemade version. And hide the holiday candy, so that it is not out in the open, or if you do overindulge, consider performing an extra workout to compensate for the caloric intake. Halloween sets the pace for the holiday season soon to follow.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show


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Content copyright © 2014 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.

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