What scares you? For me it’s clowns! This is gonna’ hurt…
The observance of Halloween dates back thousands of years and has long been associated with witches, ghosts, devils, and hobgoblins. It began as a celebration of the end of the ancient New Year. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a day to honor all saints. Soon, the night before All Saint’s Day became known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.
When it was brought to America in the 1700s, it was primarily an adult celebration used to dispel the fear of the unknown. Colonial Halloween festivities featured the telling of ghost stories and taking care to ward off evil. By the middle of the 19th the idea of Trick or Treating was born.
Over the years it spread, and Halloween customs and rituals changed dramatically. Ironically, as the holiday evolved, more and more adults began to celebrate the festivities and the focus of it being just about kids was discarded. By the 1950s, Halloween was a national celebration. With that new interest, the theme of Halloween shifted back to the more frightening and macabre side.
Halloween officially became a an unofficial national holiday and has continued to grow in popularity. In fact, the latest statistics report that All Hallows Eve is now almost as big as Christmas. It is expected Americans will spend an estimated nine (9) Billion dollars on fright night in 2019! And that isn’t because the price of chocolate has doubled in three years. More and more adults are decorating their homes and attending Halloween parties than ever. Haunted houses and city Halloween events are commonplace and even popular venues, like museums and theme parks, are offering Halloween themed Octobers.
And then there are the movies. George Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead fueled the scare generation and soon the race was on. With that dedication to scare and dare, it isn’t surprising that the studios began to compete for the viewing slot in the theaters with Halloween themed movies. Then John Carpenter’s movie, titled HALLOWEEN, debuted in 1978, and the trend was set. The tradition still exists today and in 2017, the new adaptation of Stephen King’s classic, “IT” hit the theaters. The scream-fest brought in a whopping $700 million at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing horror film of all time! To no surprise, when the sequel hit the scene, there were big expectations. In less than a month, “It 2” grossed almost $500 million. With that kind of focus on fright, the market for toys and collectibles has also grown.
So, for the sake of Halloween lovers everywhere, we are going to x-ray the greatest horror star since Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Chucky the doll and Leatherface. That new scary star is Pennywise the clown. Let’s take a look!