EDITORIAL: Adults taking over Halloween

Number of children trick-or-treating is on downswing, adult costume purchases up

Iconic imagery of Halloween tends to be ghosts and jack-o’-lanterns and all things creepy and frightening, but it’s also the sounds of little kids at the door shouting “trick-or-treat” and collecting candy.

But our favourite non-statutory holiday is changing, for better or worse, from a kid-centric night to a big party weekend for adults to blow off steam as an alter-ego.

For people that think there are fewer kids coming around their neighbourhood to collect candy, they’re probably right. Kids of trick-or-treating age peaked more than a decade ago and has steadily declined (about 3.7 million now versus 4.1 million in 2002, according to Statistics Canada).

Instead, places like Value Village and innumerable Halloween pop-up stores are seeing steady year-over-year growth in ready-made adult Halloween costumes and spooky paraphernalia. A Scotiabank poll estimates on average B.C.’ers will spend more than $80 per person for Halloween get-up and candy, making the scariest night of the year a popular and healthy business.

Candy sales in October across Canada are the clear winner at $360 million last year, but costumes sales and rentals nearly doubled over the past few years to a $40-million business.

Like the evolving nature of Halloween, annual mayhem and property damage has largely gone down across Greater Victoria thanks to many municipalities regulating and imposing safety courses on people using fireworks, or banning fireworks altogether.

Police departments maintain a heavy presence on the roads during Halloween and its closest weekend (Saanich police say Halloween beats out New Year’s Eve for call volume), but fewer fireworks and stronger enforcement has meant a drop in fire department callouts.

Some people may grumble about a nanny state and taking their explosive fun away, but taxpayers benefit when their emergency services aren’t spending the night chasing spot fires from Roman candles.

Thursday night little ghouls will be walking the neighbourhoods, but Halloween only really becomes scary when the big ghouls misbehave.

Just Posted

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

Time-lapse video shows weekend work on McKenzie Interchange project

Construction crews place concrete underpass bridge beams

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

Islanders have new cancer screening option with $6.5 M diagnostic suite in Victoria

The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite was unveiled at the BC Cancer Centre-Victoria

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read