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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

One of the rescues at CATS - Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society’s new location on Knight Road in Comox. Photo by Erin Halushak
Feline rescue organization growing into new space

Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society opens new facility on Knight Road

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Neighbours have reached out to media on several occasions with complaints about the property

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Tentative COVID-19 vaccine site chosen in the Comox Valley

B.C. is moving into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 mass immunization plan

Cumberland is considering downtown densification proposals, and with that comes questions around parking, among other things. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Water bottling ban, parking key changes for Cumberland zoning

Bylaw on amendments still need adoption following March 2 hearing

Sean LaFleur and Geoff Piper of Courtenay Nissan will be running 4 miles every 4 hours all weekend long in a fundraising campaign for YANA (You Are Not Alone).
VIDEO: Courtenay Nissan hosting YANA fundraiser

Courtenay Nissan is hosting a special YANA fundraiser all weekend long, from… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

The Courtenay Fire Department hopes to start a new recruit training program in mid-2021, pending Provincial Health Orders. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay Fire Department gets creative

Due to public health orders resulting from COVID, the Courtenay Fire Department… Continue reading

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read