Many people claim that Halloween is just a marketing ploy by candy companies. Just like Mother’s Day is a marketing ploy by flower companies and Hallmark. And let’s not get started with Christmas.

That’s just utter nonsense.

That would assume that marketing has the power to make people change into utterly ridiculous costumes. And spend $5.8 billion on candy and other things that will be useless and forgotten tomorrow.

I’d love to meet that marketing department. We could all learn from them.

Now, marketing can be powerful. But it possesses no magical power.

Halloween is important for people for many reasons: They can express a hidden side of their personality. An opportunity to be someone else for a day. A great excuse for people to watch a gory movie, something they would normally not do. An opportunity for kids to eat loads of candy without getting too much criticism from their parents. And, Halloween taps into the age-old need of sharing stories that spread over generations. I’m sure you have 10,000 other reasons.

Most importantly, Halloween is so pervasive and growing each and every year because everybody else does it. You can’t escape it. There’s just too much peer pressure to get away from it. Or even change the slightest things. Try giving kids apples when they ask for candy. You’ll be the most hated person on the block for a long time to come. By kids and their parents. Just go to a pre-school and see how many kids are wearing the same costumes from movies they never (hopefully) watched: Spiderman, Transformer, Darth Vader. Peer Pressure and Groupthink is a natural extension of us being social animals.

We created this monster of a holiday. Companies just found ways to profit from it.