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Feature: Despite uncertain economy, Halloween enthusiasm remains high in Chicago


08:44, November 01, 2011

CHICAGO, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- From parents taking toddlers on their first trick-or-treat run to college coeds zipping up a costume and heading out to a bar party, Americans of all ages celebrated the holiday that exchanges the realistic fears of the economy for the fun, fictional scares of ghosts and vampires.

Considering recent financial woes some might doubt the success of a largely commercial holiday marked by short-use costumes and candy donations, but for many Americans Halloween remains a priority even in a difficult financial climate.

"I think Halloween is part of American culture and I don't think it's something that's ever going to go away," Courtney Flannery of Chicago Costume told Xinhua. Chicago Costume operates 11 stores within the Chicago area, and Flannery said that despite the economy business has remained "steady" and that the store was doing well.

"I think that people want to be different, they want to be unique, they want to do something fun for Halloween, so of course they're going to go spend the money on it even if that means spending less money at Thanksgiving or Christmas," Flannery continued, who added that the store had even sold out of certain styles of its costumes, which range from 45 U.S. dollars to 80 U.S. dollars.

Chicago bars and nightclubs also staged successful Halloween events this weekend, with some places so packed it was hard to find room on the dance floor. Many of the parties'participants were also college students, perhaps enjoying a chance to get out and temporarily forget about high student loans.

However, financial considerations were not totally absent from the holiday. Shaunquel Winters said that some of her friends were making their own costumes this year instead of buying them, and that though there is still a lot of enthusiasm for the holiday some people might find ways of cutting down costs.

With two daughters now out of college, Beth Berardi is a Halloween veteran and has seen the holiday celebrated from the comparatively carefree 1990s to the recent American economic recession. As always, she plans to spend the evening passing out free candy to neighborhood trick-or-treaters, and thinks Americans value the holiday enough to make it work even in the face of financial hardships.

"People will either go to a thrift store and find a costume or make their own and buy cheaper candy, but they're still going to do what they're going to do," Berardi commented. "Maybe you downsize, but you still open your door and hand out candy."

by Katherine Harbin

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