News

Halloween happiness turns somber: Columnist kicks consumerist habits

By: NICOLE HASSINGER
Staff Writer

That bittersweet time of year has come for me yet again.
Previously, I have found myself in awe walking through grocery stores, finding delight in the craft section with Halloween themed decorations, blankets, candies, cards and kitchenware. I have been dazzled by the creepy, eerie and cute consumerism that unfolded in front of me.
This year is different. As a fear-seeking Halloween enthusiast, I never expected to shift from pleasure to dismay during the Halloween season. Now, as I walk down store aisles, I just get frustrated. The products don’t appeal to me. I’m angry.
I have spent my time at IU South Bend studying public relations. My field involves journalism, marketing and advertising too. That means I have learned a great deal about media. I have studied enough to now be made angry by the products that used to appeal to me because I have been taught to notice the techniques used to market those products to me.
The decorations started to appear in late August. I remember going to Big Lots and noticing the first pumpkin scented candles earlier than that. It felt like the back-to-school section vanished, replaced by Halloween.
Now, still in October, I can’t go to the store without seeing Christmas decorations. If I wanted to, I could start buying stocking stuffers, wrapping paper and Santa cookie cutters.
Of course, I don’t want to. I don’t even want to buy the adorable little Halloween decorations any more.
I don’t want to buy anything. Instead, I have started to make things.
I decided that I would create my own Halloween. I have been making cookies and baked goods a lot. I’m making my own Halloween costume this year.
My roommate and I have decided to go as Daria and Jane from the MTV series “Daria.” Our personalities work well enough to pull it off without many issues. I got most of my costume from thrift shops and raiding my friend’s closet.
Pinterest has become one of my favorite places to find new ideas. I want to make Halloween my favorite again. I want to learn how to enjoy things without having to buy new ones.
My roommates were put in charge of decorating the house this year. Normally, I would take that as my time to shine. But passing the torch allowed me to find new ways to celebrate.
It may be counterproductive, since the house will still be decorated. But it makes them happy. Decorating brings them almost as much joy as it used to bring me.
There are few things that I won’t let my education change. My favorite holiday shouldn’t be sacrificed. Halloween without consumerism is possible, and it will be my new tradition.

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