Halloween in the USA is a big deal. It's one of the biggest holidays of the year, with kids in every state looking forward to the flow of candy. While Halloween might have roots in Europe, the United States has its own unique and fun Halloween traditions.
Haunted Houses and Corn Mazes Are an American Tradition
Who doesn't enjoy a good haunted house? Walking around with your besties waiting for the scares to happen has become an October tradition. Haunted houses aren't a new thing or even an American tradition; the origins of the haunted house started in Europe. However, America has made Halloween haunted houses an October pastime.
The author of Trick or Treat - A History of Halloween, Lisa Morton, discusses how Halloween haunted houses became popular in America to tame tricksters during the Depression. Decades later, Walt Disney made them an icon in 1969 when he created Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Now, people across the U.S. love to spend the month of October getting their wits scared out of them wandering around haunted houses.
Candy Corn Craze
The National Retail Federation points out that Halloween is a billion-dollar business. Part of that billion-dollar business is the purchase of candy corn.
Commercialized Costumes Are an American Halloween Tradition
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Halloween is becoming something else for one night, from your favorite princess to a ghoul. Typically, countries around the globe that celebrate Halloween include costumes. However, in the United States, costumes are more commercialized than in other countries. While you might see the occasional traditional ghost or wonky witch, more often, the U.S. opts for non-traditional costumes. You typically see little kids running around as their favorite movie characters or superheroes.
You can also find the "sexy" versions of costumes available in stores. According to History.com, "sexy" versions of costumes became an official version in the 1990s. Rather than commercialized get-ups, Europeans might stick with more traditional costumes like ghouls or goblins, states Insider.
Home and Business Halloween Decorations
When it comes to Halloween, go big or go home. During the month of October you can see lots of houses decorated with zombies, vampires, and witches, oh my. Some people even create unique graveyards within their front lawns. The Halloween decorations are spooktacular.
However, this type of display isn't as big around the world. According to Insider, the UK doesn't have a lot of excessive Halloween decorations. Most people just keep it simple on this spooky night. Additionally, many other areas of the world that celebrate Halloween aren't as elaborate.
The Tradition of TP-ing
When it comes to Halloween, lots of people think of the treats but not the tricks. But tricks are still a big part of the holiday. Toilet papering (TP-ing) houses is a common Halloween tradition, often done by mischievous teens. More common on October 30th than on October 31st, it's still a unique U.S. Halloween occurrence. Since toilet paper isn't used in a lot of other countries, it makes sense that TP-ing is typically a U.S. thing.
Dressing Pets Up for Halloween
Who doesn't love to see a dachshund in a hotdog costume or a schnauzer running around as a spider? Dressing up your pets has become a fun trend in the U.S. According to Statista, in 2021, over 20% of Americans were dressing up their pets for Halloween. Additionally, Canine Journal states that over half a billion dollars are spent on pet Halloween costumes each year. Much like their human companions, pets are making statements in fun superhero and witch costumes.
Pumpkin Spice Anything During the Halloween Season
Halloween is a special time of year. Beyond the decorations and the costumes, you know what else consumes the month of October? Pumpkin spice. While pumpkin spice has been around since the 1700s, according to Smithsonian Magazine, it wasn't until Starbucks got into the pumpkin spice action in 2004 that it blew up. Now come autumn and Halloween, you can find pumpkin spice everything - from lattes to Oreos to dog biscuits. It's a sign of the spooktacular season of Halloween.
Is Halloween an American Holiday?
Americans go all out on Halloween; it's one of the biggest holidays of the year. But Halloween isn't strictly an American holiday. It is celebrated all over the world and has origins that go back to the Pagan festival of Samhain. However, the U.S. does have a few traditions that are unique to them.