With Halloween being just around the corner, Americans began decorating their homes with pumpkins, skeletons, and all the creepy stuff. While Halloween looks pretty much the same every year, it is one of the holidays that changed the most over time.
The holiday was very different a few decades ago, compared to the Halloween we know and love now. From costumes, the size of candy, decoration to celebrations and parades, everything has changed.
Read on to find 15 ways in which Halloween has changed in the last decades! Wonder what Halloween items are worth adding to your shopping cart this year? Click here to find out.
1. Nowadays, parents chaperone kids to go trick-or-treating
Years ago, trick-or-treating was an activity for kids only. All the kids in the neighborhood roamed the streets at night in the search of candy, with their older siblings. Only recently, parents have joined them and started watching them from a distance because they want to insure the kids are safe.
With parents watching over them and kids collecting candy to last them for an entire year, everyone is happy.
2. Knocking on strangers’ doors is becoming less common
Another Halloween activity that has changed pretty much in the last 20 years is kids’ favorite activity, treat-or-treating. Even though you might assume that treat-or-treating stayed the same, it actually changed very much over the years, and nowadays is starting to become less and less common.
As I said before, kids are now chaperoned by parents, due to safety reasons, of course, but many families consider contained festivities as a safer option. Therefore, children can go treat-or-treating at a local church or mall, where they go from car to car and collect candy. Another option is simply going treat-or-treating in their building of apartments or close neighborhood.
3. Halloween has “hours” nowadays
If you asked a kid 20 years ago “When does Halloween start?” they would probably say something like “It starts when the sun sets and it lasts until we visit every house that offers candy.”
However, things have changed, and Halloween hours are now decided by neighborhoods, and it’s usually something like “you can trick-or-treat between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.”
4. School Halloween parades are being canceled
Many adults can remember how school Halloween parades were back in the day and how much kids use to love attending them. However, for many reasons, Halloween parades are slowly starting to disappear. According to Connecticut Post, a parent shared that her school chose to cancel the annual Halloween parade in 2018 due to “numerous incidents of children being excluded from activities due to religion, cultural beliefs, etc.”
Moreover, a school in Central New York decided to cancel the parade in the same year due to safety issues. According to what an official told Syracuse.com, the decision to cancel the parade was taken because it’s almost impossible to monitor hundreds of adults who usually attend this annual event.
“This is an unacceptable risk to student safety. This number of visitors is too large for any of our spaces including the gym and the cafeteria to bring the event inside safely. ”
5. The candy is now bigger
Kids from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s got way smaller candy portions and sizes than today’s kids. Back in the day, almost every household gave candy that could be eaten in a single bite, something like a gum ball or a small-sized snickers. But things have changed now and kids expect large chocolate bars, M&M’s, and Reese’s.
6. Households try to avoid giving children peanut-based candy
The famous Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are known to be the kids’ favorite Halloween candy and a classic if you ask me. Back in the day, no one even thought twice about giving peanut-based candy to children.
But obviously, things have changed now. As data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows, about one in 13 children in the United States suffers from a food allergy. This figure increased by 50 percent since the late 1990s.
The most common food allergy in the U.S. is caused by peanuts. The prevalence of peanut and other nut allergies has tripled in America in the last 20 years, that’s why most parents prefer not to give children peanut-based candy.
7. Giving apples to children became a thing again
While some households give children kind-sized candy as the tradition says, others prefer to give a healthier option: fruit. As children started trick-or-treating in more controlled environments nowadays like malls and churches, parents also want their children to eat healthier, so handing out apples became cool again.
8. Halloween celebrations have become a lot more peaceful
Back in the day, fun Halloween celebrations for kids included silly string and toilet paper but today’s kids just don’t do that anymore. In certain areas of the United States, it’s even illegal to play with silly string.
For instance, Hollywood banned in 2004 playing with the silly string between 12 a.m on October 31st until 12 p.m on November 1st. Detroit also implemented mandatory emergency curfews for minors.
9. Pumpkin designs have become more attractive
Craving a pumpkin 20 years ago was a pretty simple task that everyone could do. The eyes were cut in a triangle form, followed by a big, ragged smile and that was it.
Today, on the other hand, pumpkin designs are a work of art. People spend hours doing it, some would prefer funny faces while others are more fascinated about scary ones.
10. People spend much more money on Halloween nowadays
Social media has inspired people to spend way more money on costumes and Halloween decor for their homes than they did years ago.
According to Serafin Smith of the National Retail Federation told Vox, “we started seeing an increase in Halloween spending about 10 years ago, and this was right around the time that social media started picking up.”
11. There are more adult Halloween festivities now
Halloween used to be a kids’ celebration only, but things have really changed. In this day and age, adults like to wear costumes as well, plus there are more adult Halloween festivities now. According to Forbes, a 2012 survey by DBB Worldwide discovered that more than 13 percent of Americans between 18 and 44 consider Halloween their favorite holiday.
According to study author Denise Delahorne, most adults consider Halloween their favorite holiday because it’s less stressful, compared to Christmas, for example. You don’t have to travel, you don’t have to deal with relatives, and you don’t have to cook as much as you have to when preparing for Christmas or Easter. Also, there’s no pressure to find a date for this celebration if you’re single.
12. Pet costumes are a thing, too
Of course, you’re not going to be the only one that dresses up for Halloween, your pet needs a costume as well. Even if we all know they will stay in their costumes for maximum two minutes, that’s actually enough to take a few pics that will surely get posted on Instagram or Facebook.
Surprisingly, as data from the National Retail Foundation shows, Americans spend more than $480 million on Halloween costumes for their furry friends. Additionally, 29 million people dressed up their pets for Halloween in 2019.
And according to experts, social media is responsible for this. Jody Miller-Young, dog designer, explained that this trend came to life because let’s face it, who doesn’t love a cute dog or cat picture? Also, many pets over the world are now Insta famous, a trend that inspired many pet owners to dress up their pets as well.
13. Halloween decorations are next level
Back in the day, Halloween decorations consisted of a few pumpkins placed around the yard, and a skeleton taped on the window. Most people chose minimal decor for their homes, limiting their spending as much as possible. $20 was enough to decorate a house for Halloween.
Things have dramatically changed because if you think about it, with $20 you can only buy a few decor items today. Of course, there still are people who like to stick to the bare minimum decor or those who don’t like it at all, but there are also those Halloween enthusiasts that transform their homes in haunted houses with realistic tombstones and huge spiderwebs.
“It used to be you bought a pumpkin, carved it, and put it on the stoop. That’s it,” Delahorne of DBB Worldwide told Forbes. “Now, you see cobwebs on the trees, witches and tombstones in the yard, and gigantic spiders. The commercial side [of Halloween] has really fueled the popularity.”
14. We chose our costumes months in advance
Back in the day, people only started to think about Halloween after mid-October and costumes weren’t such a big deal. Everything was solved with a trip to a store to get a costume and a bag of candy. And that was pretty much it.
In this day and age, people start planning for Halloween as early as July, especially if they’re working on a very elaborate costume and plan on taking Halloween decoration to the next level.
15. Pumpkin is now used as a food source
A few decades ago, pumpkin was used mainly as decoration. People used to toast it and eat it as a snack, but nothing more. In this day and age, there are hundreds of recipes with pumpkin, and it wouldn’t be autumn without pumpkin spice everything.
Also, popular brands like M&Ms, Kit Kat and Ben & Jerry’s came up with pumpkin sweets such as candy, bars, and ice cream.