Halloween Tidbits from Mike Bradley

Oct 31, 2013 -- 11:19am



Like Christmas, Halloween's gotten so commercialized that parents who use to dread it are spending as much on themselves as the candy they get for the kids. According to the National Retail Federation, we've gone from spending $5 billion in 1990 to around $8 billion this year --on candy (the most gets spent there), costumes, decorations and other assorted fright night paraphernalia. Does the giant inflatable spider for the front lawn cost that much?

   --Costumes make up the biggest chunk of Halloween sales --about a third of what we spend on the holiday. This year, overall costume purchases close to $2.2 billion.

   --Americans spent over $300 million on pet costumes last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Make of that what you will, but at least it's still less than children's costumes, which should account for about $1 billion in spending, or adult costumes, which should account for as much as $1.5 billion. Somewhere out there, a black cat owner feels thrifty.

Top Halloween spending:
   --Children's costumes: $1 billion
   --Adult costumes: $1.52 billion
   --Pet costumes: $310 million
   --Candy: $2 billion
   --Decorations: $1.88 billion (second only to Christmas decorations)
   --Greeting cards: $0.47 billion

Factoid: Jack-o'-lanterns trace their origins to an Irish folktale, where a man named "Jack" put a lit piece of coal in a hallowed-out turnip to light his way during the night. Irish townspeople later placed candles in the turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts. Apparently, four-leaf clovers alone weren't strong enough.

Where to Spend Halloween: 
Some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood are:
   --Transylvania County, NC (30,187 residents)
   --Tombstone, AZ (population 1,562)
   --Pumpkin Center, NC (population 2,150); and Pumpkin Bend township, AR. (population 307).
   --Cape Fear Township in New Hanover County, NC; and Cape Fear Township in Chatham County, NC (with populations of 15,711 and 1,170, respectively)
   --Skull Creek Township, NE (population 274).

Some candy facts: 
Some candy fun facts from Parade magazine:
   --The 3 Musketeers candy bars actually started out as 3 flavors in 1932 --individual bars filled with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry nougat. World War II sugar rationing prompted Mars, Inc, to pick one flavor to produce, so they settled on the most popular (chocolate).

   --Legend has it that George Williamson’s famous confection got its moniker from the dude who visited his store so much the shop girls called him by name: Oh, Henry!
   --Hershey bars, Reese’s cups and Heath bars are all named after company founders: Milton Hershey, H.B. Reese and L.S. Heath.

   --200: the number of Snickers bars that equals 25 pounds, the amount of candy the average American eats per year.
   --68 percent of trick-or-treaters say chocolate is their loot of choice.
   --5 cents: the cost of a Hershey bar for 69 years --from 1900 to 1969, when the price was raised to a dime.
   --364: Number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, according to a Purdue University study.

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