Illustration by Neo Clark

Study confirms Halloween is an inferior holiday

Researchers have objectively determined Halloween’s ranking

A new study published by a team of researchers at Halloween Town State University found that Halloween is “wildly overrated.”


The report, published in the journal Holiday Science Quarterly under the title “Treat or Trick?: A Comparative Study of Holiday Utility,” is a “groundbreaking scientific study into the objective characteristics of the holiday,” said lead researcher Goodman Brown. “For the first time, we can quantify the merits of each holiday in an empirical, disinterested manner.”


Researchers say they employed a 57-point analysis of each major holiday—including Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, among others—and according to their results, Halloween ranked closer to such minor holidays as Saint Patrick’s Day and Labor Day.


“Look, I know this may come as a shock,” Brown said. “But based on the data my team has collected, Halloween should be classified as a minor holiday.”


According to the report, the researchers used a series of metrics to compare the value of various holidays, including scores out of ten for “enjoyment, sentimentality, community and tradition.”


Christmas and New Year’s Eve both received top scores for each category, while Halloween received only middling scores in each. “Halloween surprisingly only scored a 6.84 in average enjoyment scores, which we observed was weighted by the presence of Halloween superfans,” Brown explained. “Median enjoyment was closer to four or five. Interestingly, we noted that sentimentality was negatively correlated with tradition: it appears the most fervent Halloween supporters are relatively recent converts.”


The study placed Halloween in a category the researchers dubbed the Cookout Class—holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day that warrant a daytime gathering, but not other holiday markers such as long-distance travel or elaborate pre-holiday preparations. “Reality check: you’re not going to get on a plane to visit your family across the country for Halloween,” Brown said. “We all knew that already, but it’s nice to see it confirmed in our report.”


“This isn’t to say that I or any of the other researchers on our team have anything against Halloween,” Brown said. “I love Halloween! I take my kids trick-or-treating every year, we decorate the house with cobwebs and jack-o-lanterns, the whole bit. Unfortunately, however, there seems to be no scientific basis for those celebrations.”


Vanguard editors were asked for their thoughts on this monumental study, and where they would personally rank Halloween. Vanguard News Editor Brad Le largely agreed with the researchers’ findings, stating, “Halloween in the way it is practiced… does not make it a major holiday, in my opinion. For Christmas and Thanksgiving for example, it’s common for people to take a trip and meet with (presumably insufferable people who may spew cacophonic nonsense) family. I wouldn’t commit the same amount of effort for Halloween… I am rather ambivalent about it.”


Vanguard Opinion Editor Justin Cory took a more hostile stance to the research findings. “I fucking love Halloween,” he stated. 


“Halloween is the best holiday,” he continued. “First off, it has spiritual pagan origins but is ultimately tied to the idea of the end of harvest and the metaphorical seasonal ‘death’ after a verdant spring, summer and fall. Human beings long have felt a need to commemorate their dead and acknowledge our own eventual deaths and the Halloween holiday does just this.”


When asked about these objections to their study, the researchers responded forcefully. “Are you kidding me with this shit?” Brown said in a follow-up interview, apparently agitated. “If you read our study again, you’ll clearly see that ‘death’ and ‘mortality’ rank pretty low on the ‘coolness’ scale, right? I mean, these are objective measurements here, so I don’t know how you expect to argue the point. What, are you gonna tell me you prefer Hocus Pocus to Miracle on 34th Street? Give me a break.”


Representatives from the various holiday agencies have been quick to respond to the report’s conclusions. A spokesperson for the Christmas Bureau stated two hours after the release of the study, “We are glad to see Christmas’ place among the holidays validated by this team of researchers. Mr. Claus is very happy with these results.”


The Mayor of Halloween Town, Bogey Man, has suggested in recent days that the study may have been secretly funded by a dark money group associated with the Claus family. “I’d like to see a full financial disclosure from the researchers,” the mayor said in a statement to the press.


Rumors have swirled around the Claus family empire, with some suggesting that the Christmas patriarch plans to consolidate his holiday holdings and expand Christmas to integrate both Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve in what one holiday expert calls a “breathtaking step toward a Christmas monopoly.” The Federal Holiday Commission announced last Tuesday an investigation into the Claus Company Board of Directors, with one anonymous investigator saying Halloween “may be his next target in this war of position against the other holidays.”