One-quarter of American adults say Halloween is their favorite holiday, according to a YouGuv survey. They didn't survey kids, but we're betting the numbers would have been higher.
Whatever your preference, here are 13 things about Halloween you may not know.
1. SKELETONS FOR ST. JUDE: A Facebook group by that name is raising funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. An unofficial campaign started last year in Holly Springs, North Carolina, when Jeff Robertson placed a St. Jude fundraising sign in his yard after a local television station aired his skeleton Halloween display. After generating $8,200 and meeting several people affected by childhood cancer, Robertson wanted to go bigger in 2021. He teamed up with Jennifer Corcoran, a Facebook influencer in Nashville, who used her following to recruit more homeowners to join the effort. There are more than 300 Halloween homes across the U.S. with St. Jude donation signs. As of last week, they'd raised $49,486 (and counting) of a $45,000 goal. The Home Depot gave a matching $45,000 donation. Facebook pays processing fees, so 100% of the donation goes directly to St. Jude.
2. SWEETS: What's America's favorite Halloween candy? CandyStore.com is calling it for Reese's Cups, based on sales data. Rounding out the Top 5 are Skittles, M&M's, Starburst and Hot Tamales. Crunching the numbers by state: Alabama's favorites are Starburst, Skittles and candy corn. Georgians buy Swedish fish, Jolly Ranchers and Reese's Cups. Tennesseans prefer Tootsie Pops, Skittles and saltwater taffy. The results are based on pounds of candy sold by the online retailer over 15 years, particularly in the months leading up to Halloween. Oddly enough, an earlier report by Zippia.com found that Tennesseans have a strange fascination with Runts, candy that comes in the shape and color of different fruits.
3. SPENDING: Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion this year, up from $8.05 billion in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation. That roughly breaks down to $3.3 billion in costumes, $3 billion in candy, $3.2 billion in decorations and $700 million in greeting cards.
4. COSTUMES: Google Trends' FrightGeist says these are the top Halloween costumes for 2021: 1. Witch; 2. Rabbit; 3. Dinosaur; 4. Spider-Man; 5. Cruella de Vil; 6. Fairy; 7. Harley Quinn; 8. Cowboy; 9. Clown; 10. Chucky. It'll be interesting to see if there are good witches and friendly clowns in the mix. We recently overheard a kid tell a little-league coach that he'd be trick-or-treating as the evil clown from Stephen King's "It," and the coach told him, "If you're dressed as Pennywise, don't show up at my house."
5. PORTLY PUMPKINS: A battle of the heavyweights may be playing out among prize-winning pumpkins this year. The official Guinness World Record was set in 2016 at 2,624.6 pounds for a gourd grown by Mathias Willemijns of Belgium. However, there appears to be a new contender for the throne. The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, which authenticates the numbers, has not updated its site with this year's results, but word has it that Italian farmer Stefano Cutrupi of Tuscany produced a pumpkin weighing 2,700 pounds.
6. SCARY MOVIES: Want to watch a new release? Here are five that sound like they'd get your blood pumping, as recommended in these previews by Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times.
— "The Addams Family 2": In the name of Addams family bonding time, Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac) packs the clan and Lurch into a hearse-like camper and takes them on a road trip of sights like Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. In this sequel to the 2019 animated revival of Charles Addams' characters, Charlize Theron returns as the voice of Morticia, and Snoop Dogg supplies the distorted vocals of Cousin It (not Itt in this version). (In theaters and on demand)
— "Black as Night": Maritte Lee Go directed this entry in the "Welcome to the Blumhouse" series, which stars Asjha Cooper as a teenager on a quest to vanquish vampires in New Orleans. (Amazon)
— Venom: Let There Be Carnage": Andy Serkis, behind the camera instead of in a motion-capture suit, directed this sequel, which finds Tom Hardy's investigative journalist trying to negotiate an accord with his symbiote and Woody Harrelson's bad guy morphing into Carnage. (In theaters)
— "Halloween Kills": "Evil dies tonight," Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) promises in the trailer. But given that this is a sequel to a 2018 sequel that recycled the title of John Carpenter's 1978 original, notwithstanding the existence of Rob Zombie's 2007 remake (which was also called "Halloween," and which had its own sequel), and given that this series had already been rebooted 20 years earlier with "Halloween H20," following five previous sequels — well, the odds of Michael Myers dying "tonight" do not seem high. But count on him getting another whack at Strode, her daughter (Judy Greer) and her granddaughter (Andi Matichak). David Gordon Green, who directed the 2018 movie, returns. (In theaters)
— "Night Teeth": A chauffeur's passengers aren't the usual Los Angeles party people but something more ominous. Teeth, you say? We're guessing vampires. With Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Debby Ryan and Lucy Fry. (Netflix)
7. HORROR CLASSICS: If you'd rather sink your teeth into a vintage film, Top10Casinos.com recommends "The Haunting in Connecticut: Ghosts of Georgia." Their research indicates that this 2013 psychological thriller has the most "jump scares" per running time — 32 in 101 minutes, as tabulated by WheresTheJump.com. The film was inspired by a book, "The Veil: Heidi Wyrick's Story," said to be the true encounters of a family in the late 1980s after their move to a rural home in Ellerslie, Georgia, about an hour southwest of Atlanta.
8. MOVIE SCREW-UPS: Movie lovers Millie De Chirico, program director at Turner Classic Movies, and Danielle Henderson, an author and television writer, say half the fun of watching monster movies is spotting the flaw in a costume that confirms it's just a movie and that the "scary monster" is actually a guy in a rubber suit. "In the category of 'monster movies where you can see the zipper,' our favorite is 'The Green Slime' (1968)," they told the Times Free Press. "These monsters are so unbelievable they actually make the movie more fun. 'The Green Slime' was directed by Kinji Fukaska and features tentacled monsters with one eye that replicates, taking out humans as it does." Get more of their movie insights from their podcast, "I Saw What You Did," which airs new episodes each Tuesday.
9. TERRIFYING TELEVISION: As reported by CenturyLinkQuote.com, based on Google Trends data, viewers in Tennessee and Alabama are most interested in "Lucifer," the Fox/Netflix series based on the comic-book series "The Sandman." In Georgia, viewers want to know more about "Legacies," a CW spinoff of "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Originals." "Lucifer" was the most-searched spooky series nationwide, with viewer searches in 16 states.
10. FAMILY-FRIENDLY TELEVISION: Would Halloween be the same without a viewing of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"? You can stream this 1966 pumpkin-patch mystery with the "Peanuts" gang on Apple TV+.
11. TRICK-OR-TREATING: Speaking of "Peanuts," the original comic strip may have been the first mention of trick-or-treating in American pop culture. According to History.com, the origin of the phrase "trick or treat" is unknown, but the custom of going door-to-door and asking for candy was depicted in the comic strip in 1951. In 1952, Disney produced a cartoon called "Trick or Treat" featuring Donald Duck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie.
12. OTHERWORLDLY BEINGS: A YouGuv survey of 1,000 American adults finds that more than two in five Americans (43%) say they believe demons exist, and a similar percentage (41%) say the same about ghosts. For both, more Americans say they do exist than say they don't; the rest aren't sure. Far fewer Americans believe in the existence of werewolves (9%) or vampires (8%), though 31% think that "other supernatural beings" do exist.
13. SUPERNATURAL TRAVEL: We're not talking about traveling through time, rather a tourism niche that features supernatural and otherworldly destinations. Mysterious Adventures Tours will launch its new itineraries in May with an adventure in Romania, coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker's "Dracula." Other globetrotting getaways are designed to take travelers to "the most mystical countries in the world, exploring haunted castles, spectral landmarks, supernatural wonders, while taking in spine-tingling legends of the unexplained," says CEO Maria Schmidt.
Contact Lisa Denton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6281.