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by Wendy Vapors, 10/6/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program that's reality free. It appears that Halloween begins earlier every year. And the decorations are becoming as elaborate and as widespread as those for any other holiday, including Christmas. Wendy Vapors reports.

(sfx: spooky background)

Bundy: Look! I've got a knife stuck all the way through my hand! Akkkkk!

(music: Beetlejuice theme, under throughout?)

Wendy: Bundy Manson is the sort of person who really loves Halloween, and especially the ever increasing amount of cheap junk and goofy horror accessories that come along with it. It tries the patience of his wife, Lizzie.

Bundy: Ah! Oh no! My eye is falling out! Look!

Lizzie: (not impressed) It's rubber, Bundy.

Bundy: And I've got a huge, weeping carbuncle, right on the tip of my nose! And it's growing. Aiiiiiiie!

Lizzie: (sigh) (flatly) I'm horrified, honey.

Bundy: Really? Are you?

Lizzie: (not horrified) Oh yeah.

Bundy: (fade off) Ha ha ha ha ha!

Wendy: Thanks to people like Bundy Manson, Halloween is starting earlier and lasting longer than ever. And he represents a growing group of consumers. Melanie Detritus writes about emerging trends for Cheap Junk, a journal of the doodad and gewgaw industry.

Melanie: We've seen enormous growth in cheap junk connected with Halloween... which used to be a busy time just for candy makers and the fireproof wig industry. But now... if your company produces any little piece of plastic garbage that can be shaped like a ghost our ghoul or goblin, or if you make a baby sized serial killer chainsaw or phony cobwebs... you have got what the public is clamoring for.

Wendy: Patrick Daggers is a Wall Street investment guru, and he agrees that Halloween is Hot.

Daggers: (phone) Internet stocks? Don't bother. I would rather buy solid companies that have a demonstrated ability to meet the public's need for rubber vampire bats, plastic fangs, press-on scar tissue, mummy's head decorative lights, and Monster Mash singing figurines... the potential is breathtaking.

Wendy: Commercial Sociologist Garth Fusting says the growth in Halloween kitsch is a symptom widespread alienation that will grow before it levels off.

Fusting: Humans crave intense feelings. And for intensity, what have we got? Well, there's Love, for one, and Fear. Love has a lot going for it, it's a great rewarding intense feeling but it does take some time. You gotta get to know somebody. But Fear, that's fast. It's convenient. You can have a really intense fear relationship with somebody you don't know. In fact it's better if you don't know them. With everybody so busy, I think fear has the edge.

Wendy: But investors are asking... can Halloween merchandising hold a candle to Christmas, which now lasts two months and is still the "800 pound gorilla" of holiday buying. Patrick Daggers things so.

Daggers: (phone) Christmas doodads, people have got already. And frankly, Christmas and marketing have had an uneasy relationship. Marketing is an evil science. And Halloween is evil too, so there's a powerful synergy there.

Wendy: And so, thanks to the cheap junk industry, Bundy Manson and millions like him can look forward to a steadily growing supply of macabre trinkets and folderol, with no end in sight!

Bundy: Look, Lizzie! I've got electrodes on my neck!

Lizzie: (bored) That's nice, dear.

Bundy: Just like Frankenstein! Zzzzzap! Zzzzzzapp! I'm alive! Alive!

Lizzie: That's nice.

Wendy: I'm Wendy Vapors, and I'm reporting.


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