The Halloweens of Yesterday

"When did Halloween become, to use the marketing phrase of the moment, spooktacular?" The New Yorker's Susan Orlean reflects on simpler Halloweens of yesteryear.

"My guess is that the Halloweening of America has many causes," says Susan Orlean. "One is probably the popularity of horror films, and, accordingly, the enthusiasm for things like Bloody Dagger Doorknockers and the whole severed-body-part segment of Halloween decor. Another is certainly the genius of insistent merchandising by card and costume and decoration companies, which have managed to make the average citizen feel like a heel if he or she doesn’t send out St. Patrick’s Day cards or style the house for Valentine’s Day (see Maud Lavin’s excellent book 'The Business of Holidays' for particulars)."

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