01 November, 2007

Halloween Knocks Easter into 3rd Place

For as long as holiday polls have been taken, Christmas has come out on top. This is especially the case with children. No matter how the questions are asked, kids always say that they like Christmas the best.

Ever since the Barna Group began taking its "Favorite Holiday Poll" in 1967, second place has also been very stable - until this year. Easter had held down kids' number 2 spot every year since '67. However, this year a shocking change took place. Halloween supplanted Easter to take over second place.

According to Chandler Davis (age 9), of Cheyenne, WY, "Christmas will always be the best. That's when I take my biggest haul of the year. No other time comes close. Easter used to be my second favorite because of the Easter basket. But this year my mom got me a Nintendo DS Lite for Halloween. That plus all the candy pushes Halloween into my second spot."

Halloween has made an enormous rise within the last ten years. According to Barna, in 1997 Halloween came in 7th place in this poll. The order that year was Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, the 4th of July, St. Patrick's Day, and then Halloween.

Since that time, however, Halloween has rocketed into second place. Two factors appear to have combined to bring about this change. First, parents and others now appear to be giving gifts for Halloween. Ashlyn Pool (age 10), of San Jose, CA, told TBNN, "I was so surprised this year when my mom gave me a new iPod nano. I was not expecting that at all. Trick-or-treating used to be the best part about Halloween, but now I'm looking forward to getting stuff each year, too. This has to push Halloween past Easter for me. I mean, really, how much fun is the Easter Bunny?"

The second factor in Halloween's upward move seems to be the current Harry Potter fascination. Ever since the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was released in 1998, Halloween has risen in this poll. What is the reason for this? No one can be sure, but similarities between the Harry Potter books and Halloween are certainly apparent.

For example, in the Potter books, author J. K. Rowling focuses on witchcraft, divination, and sorcery. Halloween, obviously, is the holiday when these same practices are championed in American society. Also, in both the Potter books and on Halloween, the above acts are portrayed in a fun, almost childlike light.

McKenzie Smith (age 8), of Lexington, KY, said, "Christmas has to still be number 1. But Halloween is catching up. This year, as I was about to go outside dressed as a vampire, my mom gave me a DVD set of the first 4 Harry Potter movies. I looked it up later on Amazon.com. It cost 54 bucks!"

TBNN has also learned the following: after the Barna Group closely analyzed all of the poll data, they discovered that no significant difference exists between Christian and non-Christian children when it comes to favorite holidays.


Richard Boyce said...

Still looking for the satire, bear with me.......

Nope. Can't find it.


(Ok, this morning's word verification 'word' is 8 characters long. It's way too early in the morning for trying to decipher which letters are what.)

apostle paul said...

Maybe this means more church members on Halloween. If so, then soon Halloween could rival Homecoming for slacker attendance.

W.A. Foote said...

Richard, your right not even "Satire Sniffer" was able to find the satire in this one.

Clay said...

Something is seriously wrong with America when kids can get more candy trick-or-treating than from the 4th of July parade - wasn't so along ago I was walking on it like carpet, only picking up the best. Truly the glory has departed. . . .

Richard Boyce said...

Good...I was starting to worry about myself, lol.

The undergrads at my school hosted something called "Judgment Day" last night and the past couple weekends. Go through a house, watch a play, hear the Gospel, etc.

Well, last night when I wasn't preaching, I was a counselor in the back of the room, ready to talk to people.

Come to find out, there were several Oneness Pentecostals in the group that began arguing with the speaker over the idea of Jesus bridging the gap between God and mankind. The place looked like a Jerry Springer show, and the poor kid preaching had no clue what was going on.

While heresy is not usually amusing, I have to admit that the look on his face was priceless.

Patrick said...

Every holiday my wife and I send 'goodie bags' to our nieces and nephews focused around that particular holiday. They usually call up and thank us and are very excited about it.

Last year we sent 'Reformation bags' for Oct. 31st. The candy was still present but the bags had pictures of Martin Luther, The 95 Theses posting, and the five Solas pasted on the bags....no call, no excitement, nothing. No mention of it to this day.

I think I would have been safer sending a bag with ghosts and pentagrams...to my non-denominational, evangelical, sister and her children.

Darrin said...

Of course that's right - ghosts and pentagrams are fun and never hurt anyone; Reformers are a mean lot who are exclusive and divisive, and hurt lots of people - aren't they responsible for that nasty Crusades stuff?
(Richard - there's your satire if you needed some.)
PS - I sent out a "Happy Reformation Day" email to my Sunday School class yesterday, with a bit about Luther and the 5 Solas, and don't know how well it was received either!

Brother Slawson said...

Here was a great idea I had this year...

Over the last 3 weeks, I visited 10 different friends and left one of my son's small glass marbles in each of their couches between some cushions.

Last night from 6-8, I visited those friends with my son to retrieve the marbles. All of them gave us candy. It was a great way to get candy. Because I was retrieving an item that I owned and had left, legalistically, I was not celebrating Halloween at all.

I told everyone I met, "Happy Reformation Day". You could tell they were all shocked because they were so into their Halloween celebrations (who knows what wickedness and idol worship was really going on behind those ninja masks).

Darrin said...

Speaking of idols, have you folks ever read the excerpt of Baxter's on the worst idol we all deal with (the flesh)? You can read it at http://puritansermons.com/baxter/baxter3.htm
Probably one of the most convicting things I've read.

A said...

My satire meter is either broken or reading zero for a reason.

Did the Barna Group include Reformation Day in their poll? I'm curious to learn how many people have heard of it, let alone celebrate it.

PaPaMarc said...

I am not sure about the satire here either.
I had to go out of town on business this week and my wife went with me.
We went to Target last night to get my grandson a birthday toy.
Talking about spooky! There were very few people in the store at all and no one in the toy department. Zero parents and zero kids. Talking about a great time to do toy shopping!

Jeff said...

"I think I would have been safer sending a bag with ghosts and pentagrams...to my non-denominational, evangelical, sister and her children."


"...that's right - ghosts and pentagrams are fun and never hurt anyone; Reformers are a mean lot who are exclusive and divisive, and hurt lots of people ..."

I guess...

jamesr said...

I was much surprised, and pleasantly so, with the response from one group of "beggars" at our home this past Wednesday.

They started out with "Merry Christmas" , to which I replied "Happy New Year". They then blurted out "Happy Birthday", to which I replied "Happy Reformation Day".

The oldest child then responded that she had heard about that in school that day!

Regrettably, it was not one of the local public schools. It was the local Christian school (Timothy Christian).

Now to get some tea and a "Sola" cup to put it in, and off to work.