The Skary Skelly 2012 Halloween Album 

Happy Halloween, kids!

I wasn't going to bother again this year, but oh what the hell? In a few more years, maybe your kids will be reading this site, and that's a better audience-building strategy than any other I've come up with. Besides, who can be quiet in an election year?

T his is the election President Obama couldn't win unless the economy got better. He said it himself. So it got better, and he still might not win. Right now voters are trying to decide whether there could be worse things in life than a bad economy. Mitt Romney fervently hopes so.

People could decide what's worse is a Vice President with a frightfully bad haircut. It's hard to understand why the Ryan nomination didn't unleash a flood of Eddie Munster jokes. Or does the reference just show its age? After all, voters seem scarcely able to even remember back to what got us into this mess or how big it really was.

We've noted that Halloween mask sales have been used as a predictor of election outcomes going back to the age of Nixon. Well, this year Obama masks are outselling Romney's by 30%. (Note last news story below.) The question is, who's buying Halloween masks so early—other than Nate Silver? (The report was released early Oct.) Absentee trick-or-treaters? And, Obama's winning the mask sales race in Texas?

Gov. Romney has scored his own costume winner, of sorts. After he promised to cut PBS funding, Big Bird costumes (priced at $39.99 to $89.99) sold out within days. Too late to restock. The costumes come all the way from China. He's a job out-sourcer alright.

Back home, the unemployment number at last dropped below 8%. GDP improved by 1.3% in the 2nd quarter over the 1st and by 2.1% over the 2nd quarter last year. Federal tax receipts in FY-12 increased 6.3 % over FY-11. Federal outlays decreased 1.6%. The deficit declined by $200 billion. The private sector will add almost 1.7 million jobs this year. Of course, to Republicans all this is merely proof of Obama's failed economic policies.

For Obama to take credit for these gains, modest as they are, is a little like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise. Congress wouldn't pass any of his legislative proposals, but things got better anyway. How inconvenient. The noted economist Lewis Black has observed, "The economy goes up, it goes down, it goes up, it goes down, it goes up, it goes down. Nobody knows why the fuck it happens." It's been in "up" mode for a while now, just not fast enough to please anybody. Americans always think they're entitled to more.

Whatever else is up or down this year, 170 million people say they plan to celebrate Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation's annual Halloween survey. Good times or bad, these folks' annual surveys only seem to go up. Folks plan to spend $8 billion this Halloween. That's more stimulus than anything Congress is coming up with.

The average person will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 last year.
• 45% plan to dress up in costumes (vs. 43.9% in 2011)
• 15.1% will dress up their pets (a growing trend)
• 36.2% will attend a party
• 33.2% will take their children trick-or-treating
• 83.5% say they will spend less overall
• 36.1% say they will buy less candy

It got no mention in this year's survey, but in our neighborhood at least, the trend toward ghoulish home decorating is on the downswing. Fewer giant spiders assaulting second-story bedrooms, or half-decayed bodies climbing out of front-yard graveyards, or flying witches zipping across the front walk 20 feet off the ground.

Even the big houses around the country club are less ostentatiously turned out. That's a little disconcerting; these are the one-percenters. Then again, corporate profits have begun trending down, and these are the people who would be first to notice.

Recent grads still face bleak employment prospects, of course. The last to arrive are the last to be served. Especially when they're kids. Kids are stupid, as Marv observed. But two in three of you guys have a job, and none of you is remotely rudderless. Even without a paycheck, Sarah has a career. In fact, they're working her to death. But in a few years, with luck, she should be able to buy Halloween. She just won't be able to come home for it.

And household discretionary incomes are actually rising. So mommy and Tracey can sell the children of the new nouveau riche more overpriced historical toys (parts made in China). With advanced educational training, they can even instruct the kids on how to make them work. God knows, they won't work for me.

And JJ? Well, he's just one viral video away from striking it rich himself. Stop frittering your gifts away, son, in servitude to the man.

So things really are looking up. Just try to get through this night, safely and in one piece. And don't let kids who already are rich steal your candy. 'Cause, you know, they'll try.


(Click on photos.)

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Tonight's top stories ...

The Latest Christian Halloween Protest: JesusWeen
October 10, 2012
By Sonia Van Gilder Cooke, Time NewsFeed

Attention heathens, hide your pumpkin idols! Halloween has a new nemesis: JesusWeen.

What is JesusWeen? It’s an unfortunately-named Christian organization that opposes “ungodly” Halloween and its “evil characters.” This October 31st, instead of Mars bars, group members plan to hand trick-or-treaters mini Bibles.

JesusWeen founder Pastor Paul Ade began replacing sugar with scripture in 2002. “All it took was putting a bible into every bag as they opened each bag with a smile,” declares the JesusWeen website, adding that it was “much easier than expected” to trick kids into thinking the Bible was a treat.

The group now has over 2,000 followers on Facebook and says on Twitter it expects JesusWeen followers to hand out hundreds of Bibles and become “the most effective Christian outreach day ever.”

But what is it about All Hallows’ Eve that Pastor Paul finds so scary? “I think it’s an activity that doesn’t have anything to do with Christians,” the Canadian pastor told Gawker [, an online blog]. He’s right: it has to do with candy! (And capitalism.)

Peaceful Protesters Arrested For Wearing Halloween Mask
September 22, 2012
By Nurse Pam, Addicting

As the Occupy Wall Street protest continues, police in lower Manhattan have begun arresting protesters. But protesters are not being arrested for disorderly conduct. They are being arrested for wearing Halloween masks.

Apparently New York has a law dating back over 150 years ago that forbids people from wearing a mask, if two or more people are gathered, unless they are attending a masquerade party. One would think that wearing a mask at a peaceful demonstration would be protected as a form of self expression, as guaranteed by the First Amendment in the United States Constitution. But apparently wearing a mask is forbidden as an unlawful expression.

Are the police trying to legally break up the protesters? Again according to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed. It reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It seems as if the protesters are being “legally harassed” because if a couple of people were doing nothing more than walking down the street in New York City wearing a mask, more than likely the police would completely ignore them. But when a citizen wears a mask at a protest, the police use this outdated law to take down the protesters.

Will the Occupy Wall Street protest continue for weeks or months on end? According to reports, this protest began several days ago with approximately 1,000 – 2,000 protesters. Apparently this number has dwindled during the week.

Will the number pick up on weekends when people are off work or not attending classes? That remains to be seen. Perhaps the appropriate question is, will the protests continue until Halloween? Until then, leave your masks at home, that’s just too scary!

Cock of the Halloween Walk: 'Big Bird Costume' Searches up 600% Google Reports Frenzy as Costumes Fly Off the Shelves
October 11, 2012
By Ken Wheaton, Advertising Age

Big Bird might not be helping President Barack Obama in the polls, but one thing is clear: The political squawking is helping Big Bird. Heading into the height of Halloween season, searches for "big bird costume" have jumped more than 600% since the first presidential debate, according to Google.

And Halloween-costume purveyors are acting fast to capitalize on that. A Google search for the phrase "big bird costume" pulls up sponsored links from, Oriental Trading and Party City, among others.

According to Mark Bietz, marketing VP for, "Our marketing team quickly mobilized media efforts on Google and other channels to answer the call of politically savvy shoppers. In the three days following the debate, we sold out of our traditional Big Birds."

Mr. Bietz noted that the costumes in highest demand are the full suits or "mascot-style costumes." However, he said, "sales of the less traditional 'Sexy Big Bird' have increased year over year as well."

Big Bird's doing pretty well at bricks-and-mortar shops as well, according to The New York Times, which reported a "Big Bird bounce" at New York City retailers.

This isn't the first time in recent political history that "Sesame Street" costumes have seen a sales spike. "We noticed an uptick in all 'Sesame Street' characters during the Occupy Wall Street movement."

But Mr. Obama can find some small comfort in's numbers. According to Mr. Bietz, Obama masks are beating Mitt Romney masks.