Over 70% of adults say they will celebrate Halloween this year (up from 52% just seven years ago). This has lead some to say Halloween has been hijacked by adults. Maybe.
I think more than a culturally sanctioned opportunity to act like a kid, Halloween is an opportunity for self-expression. It's a celebration of friends. It's the passing down of a tradition within families. It's also become the second highest grossing holiday in consumer spending -- an average of $123 per person will be spent this Halloween (what recession?). Halloween, it would appear, has become a cultural phenomena. Or has it? Maybe it's a chance for our alter ego to emerge. Maybe Halloween allows us to tap into our psyche's questions about afterlife and spirits. Maybe it's the expression of the need for a friend-centric holiday. Maybe it's adults' last hurrah before the beginning of a long season of family-oriented holidays and gift giving. Maybe we really need permission to act like a kid.
Halloween is more than a day to dress up. It is a cultural expression of the needs and desires we too often suppress.