TRANSCRIPT FROM THE AUGUST, 1951, MEETING IN WHICH HALLMARK MARKETING EXECUTIVES INVENTED HALLOWE’EN
“Fellas, we need a new “event” holiday. We need something to ignite sales during that unfestive lull between the Jewlidays1 and the Big Turkey2. I’m looking at the numbers here, and sales are hitting the lowest valley right on the October/November cusp. These figures don’t lie, boys. So, whattaya got?"
“Ooh, what if it had pumpkins?”
“Pumpkins don’t test well, but we could do apples--”
“Oh, I know! We could carve faces in the pumpkins!”
“Pumpkins and apples dipped in caramel!”
“I love those!”
“Fellas! Sure, pumpkins with faces; who cares? Boys, we need something that will make people buy crap from us. Something with lots of decorations and accessories and whatnot.”
“O.K., let’s think.”
“Something for kids and grown-ups…”
“Well, grown-ups spend the money…”
“But kids are easy to brainwash with sugar…”
“…what if we encourage the grown-ups into giving the kids candy…”
“Pumpkins with faces!”
“Oh, pipe down, Krumholz.”
“Yeah, shut up, man. Nobody likes pumpkins.”
“O.K., where were we? Candy. How do we get the adults to give the kids candy?”
“...We could incite the kids to really fuck up their houses if they don’t.”
“You know, shaving cream and eggs and shit like that.”
“I like it… keep talking…”
“Shut it, Krumholz. Johnson, continue.”
“And, fine, we could also have them carve faces in pumpkins, like Krumholz keeps saying.”
“I like it, I like it… it needs a hook, though.”
“Sir, won’t the kids get in trouble with their neighbors and parents if they’re fucking up non-candy-giving houses?
“Good point, Peter.”
“Masks! We have the kids wearing masks!”
“Masks! Of course! Johnson, you deserve a raise!
“What? What’s so funny?”
“Sir, you unintentionally made a homoerotic euphemism, there!”
“Ha, ha, so I did! Good eye, there Willie! A raise to you, too!”
“Ho ho! So it is!”
“O.K., enough pecker jokes. Now let’s get back to brainstorming.”
“Do I have time for one more?”
“Rod, we’ve got work to do—”
“Oh, Peter, don’t be so stiff.”
“Ha, ha, ha!”
“O.K., O.K., enough. Now back to this costume thing. Do you think adults should dress up too?”
“Well, if we do, I bet we could convince our wives and girlfriends to get all dressed up sluttly-like, under the pretense of dressing as a colorful character.”
“Excellent! That's a great idea, Henderson!”
“French maids, and sexy cats…”
“Angels and devils…”
“The sky’s the limit, sir. Imagine, a perfectly good chance to ogle other men’s wives!”
“Sir, I've always had this irrational fear of monsters eating my face. Is there any way we can tie that in?”
“Of course! Ghouls, goblins, monsters, zombies, whatever. Go crazy here. O.K., boys, nicely done. Let’s shoot for October 31st. See what kind of sketches you can have on my desk Monday morning…”
“What? What is it, Dick?”
“Sir, have you realized that Hallowe’en has been in existence for centuries? Various cultures have celebrated a hodgepodge of Christian, Celtic, and pagan folklore on this day. And also, with all these “phallic” jokes and calling our women “slutty,” none of you are speaking or behaving like Hallmark executives in the 1950s.”
“Uh oh, Dick’s shooting off again! Ha! Hey!”
“Ha, ha, ha! Excellently done, Krumholz!”
1. Industry lingo for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the Jewish high holy days.
2. Industry lingo for Thanksgiving.
MORE HELLISH HALLOWE'EN HORROR
How Hallmark Invented Hallowe'en
It's the Great Pumpkin-Patch Farmer, Charlie Brown!
What Are We Giving Trick-or-Treaters at Our Door?
A Hallowe'en Message from Dr. Demento
A Trick-or-Treat Guide to the Houses on My Block