As children, we look forward to Halloween as an opportunity to dress up in costume, play a role, get candy from neighbors, hang out with our friends and stay up late telling stories of restless spirits. We called out “Trick or Treat?” in the hopes of a full bag of candy.  So this year, which have you gotten?

For the Seal Beach business community, there have definitely been elements of both.  It has been a remarkably difficult year due to a real pull back in consumer and business spending.  Historic businesses have seen contraction in their sales and margins for many have gotten slimmer. On the other hand, some businesses have been doing better: alcoholic beverage sales are up, communication technologies (like the iPhone) are robust and there is a much higher sales pattern in alternative energy and “green” products.

Are we out of the recession yet?  It is doubtful.  Despite billons in government bailout, there are still a great many homes financially underwater and still more bank failures coming.  Unemployment benefits are running out for millions of Americans and yet job growth is sluggish.  Our centers of shopping still have many vacancies, like the Mel’s Diner, which recently closed at the Shops at Rossmoor.  Some businesses in our town are transitioning ownership or looking to sell, even those which have been around for decades.  In addition, California has certainly not gotten its own financial house in order, but our City seems to still be ready for the continued pullback in infrastructure support.

It will get better, but we need to continue to work together do it by shopping and spending locally.  Marshall’s is coming into the space vacated by Circuit City and we have seen some recovery on Main Street.  The Chamber is producing many events we can all participate in and look forward to: Dress up Halloween & Trick or Treat Main Street Sidewalk Sale (Oct. 30th – 31st & November 1st), Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner (November 26th), our Holiday Tree Lighting at Eisenhower Park (November 27th), and the Annual Christmas Parade (December 4th).

It is also a time to consider the generosity of Halloween. We give away freely to those we don’t even know.  We do our best to create safe places for our children to play and explore new costumes, identities and enjoy scary mysteries.  Can’t we do that for each other?  Let us try hard not to judge others, but to protect individuality for the costumes we live in life.  Let each of us not just give the free candy, but give of our time, talent and treasure to our community by volunteering.  Several church groups are coming together for Impact Seal Beach on November 14th and there are many service organizations and non-profits which can use your help.  We need to support events by not only attending, but asking friends and family to our town and sharing the wonder that is Seal Beach.

One project in particular which will help with sharing our town is the new Seal Beach map.  A joint project between the City and the Chamber, the City map is newly revised with street names, businesses and key facts.  It will help both visitors and residents alike in being up-to-date and clearly to scale.  It even has enlarged call out sections for our busiest areas like Leisure World and the PCH corridor.  Look for it before Thanksgiving.

As the writer Steve Almond said, “Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.”  Hopefully, all of us can have a full, beautiful bag of abundance and plenty when asked the same question. “Trick or Treat?” this time next year


Seth Eaker is the Past President of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and is the founder of Black Marble Consulting, LLC., a business consulting and marketing firm.