Essay: Halloween gets historical due

Last year, the Washington Post reported that Americans spent twice as much money on Halloween -- $7.4 billion – as on the 2014 federal elections.

$7.4 billion buys a lot of fright. Broader cultural implications of the spending comparison aside, it's a figure that speaks volumes about this holiday's grip on the American psyche.

Evolved from ancient Celtic tradition, Halloween's popularity has risen and fallen with the changing tides of popular culture. Whatever arguments the naysayers have mounted against it, Halloween has always prevailed. Because, truthfully, we don't just like it. We love it. Some might even say we need it, now more than ever.

At a time when...