Halloween and my long absence
Actually, there’s no link between the two, but the Internet overlords here pointed out today that I’ve been incredibly bad about posting regularly here â€” and it does happen to be Halloween.
First, on my shoddy blogging habits: Guilty as charged. Work has been busy, life has been busier, but there are certainly no shortage of issues to blog about. Either way, I’m told today that the site will be “on hiatus” for the time being, largely because of inactivity. I’ve argued that we still get more hits than other blogs on here, and that we can recommit to posting more. But it proved not to be a convincing argument. Hopefully we’ll get some renewed interest after Election Day and can come back or reshape it. It can’t hurt if you guys make some noise, and I also intend to get more active with my single-parent network folks on Facebook.
Anyway, as for Halloween, my son is 10 now and, while clearly still into it, his interest is starting to fade as far as the traditional trick-or-treat ritual with us. We’re entering the hang-out-with-friends to do it stage. Nonetheless, we’re doing what we did last year: Getting our two blended families together and hitting the neighborhood. This year we’re in my ex’s neighborhood, as we alternate year-to-year. It’ll be my son, my ex and I, my girlfriend, her little boy and her ex, plus my ex’s husband and his son. That’s some crew.
And while we’re at it, here are some Halloween facts thrown my way by my colleague Cathey O’Donnell, who does a lot of the data number-crunching here at the paper. Enjoy:
The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches, ghosts, devils and hobgoblins. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have changed dramatically. Today, many of the young and young at heart take a more light-spirited approach. They don scary disguises or ones that may bring on smiles when they go door to door for treats, or attend or host a Halloween party.
Trick or Treat!
The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2007 — children 5 to 13 — across the United States. This number is down about 38,000 from a year earlier. Of course, many other children — older than 13, and younger than 5 — also go trick-or-treating.
Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2007 — all potential stops for trick-or-treaters.
Percentage of households with residents who consider their neighborhood safe. In addition, 78 percent said there was no place within a mile of their homes where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.
Jack-oâ€™-Lanterns and Pumpkin Pies
1.1 billion pounds
Total production of pumpkins by major pumpkin-producing states in 2007. Illinois led the country by producing 542 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, New York and Ohio also provided lots of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $117 million.
Where to Spend Halloween?
Some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood are:
— Transylvania County, N.C. (29,984 residents).
— Tombstone, Ariz. (population 1,562).
— Pumpkin Center, N.C. (population 2,228); and Pumpkin Bend, Ark. (population 307).
— Cape Fear in New Hanover County, N.C. (15,711); and Cape Fear in Chatham County, N.C. (1,170).
— Skull Creek, Neb. (population 274).
Candy and Costumes
Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2006, employing 39,457 people and shipping $13.9 billion worth of goods. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 128, followed by Pennsylvania, with 116.
Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionary products in 2006. These establishments employed 18,733 people and shipped $7.2 billion worth of goods that year. California led the nation in this category, with 72 establishments.
Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2007.
Number of costume rental and formal wear establishments across the nation in 2006.