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.