10 Things I Betcha Didn’t Know About Halloween

Thinking about today being Halloween (well, yesterday, now), I was wondering whether any kids would come Trick-or-Treating. They didn’t, but it got me GTSing, and now the question is: Did You Know . . . ? 

Trick-or-Treating Has Existed Since Medieval Times. 

In medieval times in Scotland and Ireland, trick-or-treating was called “guising.”  Much like they do today, youngsters put on costumes and went door-to-door looking for food or other treats – only back then they performed for the treats.  They sang and danced and did tricks.  Today, the treat-giver might get a simple “Thank you.”  Or not. 


Three Jack-O-Lanterns
Image by Bany_MM from Pixabay

World War II Almost Ended Trick-or-Treating 

During the war, sugar was rationed, so there was a shortage of candy and other kinds of sweets.  As a result, trick-or-treating was put on hold until the war ended. 

Until the 1950s, Candy Wasn’t Given To Trick-Or-Treaters. 

Remember when you had bragging rights if your candy haul was bigger than your friends’?  Well, that only started in the 1950s.  Before that, trick-or-treaters received pieces of cake, fruit, nuts, coins, and little toys. 

Today, one-quarter of all the candy sold in the United States annually is purchased for Halloween.  Speaking of purchasing, Halloween now ranks second only to Christmas.  In 2019 Americans bought candy, decorations and costumes for Halloween to the tune of $1,048 per person!  Despite Covid-19, Americans still managed to fork over $8 billion overall in 2020.  If you’re counting, that averages $92 per person.

Chicken Feed

That’s the original name for Candy Corn.  Back in the 1880s, when half of the American workers worked on farms, George Renniger (Wunderlee Candy Company) created Candy Corn, called it “Chicken Feed,” and sold it in a box that had a rooster on the front.  About 20 years later, the Goelitz Candy Company began to sell their own brand of the treat.  The company that sells it these days is the Jelly Belly Candy Company. 

Candy Corn Is Either One of the Worst Candies Or One of the Best 

Vox.com reports, “According to CandyStore.com’s map of top Halloween candies, residents of seven states – Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Rhode Island – named candy corn as their favorite Halloween candy, based on sales data from 2007 to 2017.  It was also the No. 6 seller nationwide, behind Skittles, M&Ms, Snickers, Reese’s Cups, and Starburst.” 

Through the years, though, people have either loved or hated Candy Corn.  It was voted the worst Halloween candy in the country in 2019 and 2020.  However, it also made the 2020 top 10 best Halloween candies list, so it looks like the debate is ongoing!

I like ’em. Do you?

Scary Costumes Are Most Popular With Adults 

The top adult Halloween costumes in 2020 were: 

Witch

Vampire

Cat

Batman

Ghost

Princesses and superheroes are the top costumes for kids.

Pumpkins are the top costumes for dogs, while cats favor hiding under the sofa until the whole mess is over.

The other day, I saw a commercial advertising a dog costume that made the dog look like a Panda. 

You Can Visit a Pumpkin Patch in Hawaii 

That sounds so strange, doesn’t it?  But there are local pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides, gourds and other Halloween activities on the Islands, and you can find them in Honolulu County, Kalawao County, Kauai County and Maui County. 

Monster Mash 

Remember Monster Mash?  Sounded like Boris Karloff was singing, but the song was actually sung by Bobby Pickett (the composer) and The Crypt Kicker Five. 

This was a novelty song, released August 1962, that hit The Billboard Hot 100 the week of October 20-27 of that year – surprisingly (?) just before Holloween. 

It was actually released on two occasions after the original release:  August 1970 and May 1973.  Monster Mash, again entered The Hot 100 on May 5, 1973 and peaked on August 11 at No. 10.

The BBC even banned it in the U.K., saying it was ”too morbid.”

Harry Houdini Died on Halloween in 1926 

Although there were multiple contradicting reports – from him being poisoned to having his appendix pummeled – the only mystery was in the tabloids, because it wasn’t either of those. It wasn’t the dangerous illusions.  And it wasn’t the stunts.  Nor was it all that time underwater.  Death claimed Harry Houdini with peritonitis – caused by a ruptured appendix. 

The Top Five Highest-Grossing Horror Movies (Plus One) 

The 6 highest-grossing horror movies of all time are:

  1. It (2017) ($327.5 million)
  2. The Sixth Sense (1999) ($293.5 million)
  3. Jaws (1975) ($260 million)
  4. Ghostbusters (1984) ($242.2 million)
  5. The Exorcist (1973) ($232.9 million)
  6. It: Chapter Two (2019) ($195.7 million)

Proof that people really like to be scared. 

sk.

Resources 

The History Channel

Halloween, https://www.history.com/topics/halloween

The National Retail Federation 

Halloween, https://nrf.com/topics/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/halloween

2021 Hawaii Pumpkin Patches and More.org 

CandyStore.com

Most Popular Halloween Candy by State [Interactive Map], By Ben George ben@candystore.com, Sept 22, 2021,

Vox

Candy corn: Halloween’s most contentious sweet, explained, By Tanya Pai@TanyaPaitanya.pai@vox.com, Updated Oct 18, 2018, 9:35am EDT

https://www.vox.com/2015/10/29/9633560/candy-corn-explained

NME

The strange tale of Monster Mash, the graveyard smash that will never die, by El Hunt, 28th October 2021, https://www.nme.com/features/monster-mash-bobby-pickett-misfits-halloween-2800745

Wikipedia 

Monster Mash, https://en.m.wikipedia.org  

Forbes

The Highest-Grossing Horror Movies of All Time, by Travis Bean, Contributor, Hollywood & Entertainment, October 3, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbean/2019/10/03/the-highest-grossing-horror-movies-of-all-time/?sh=1eb19f87e4d3

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