Halloween Fun Facts, Highest Ranked Candy & Costumes

As discussed in Episode 15 of the Wise Eats Podcast:

Halloween Fun Facts

Well, hello there, Wise Guys & Ghouls, and welcome to a special Halloween edition of Wise Eats! Halloween has always been one of my very favorite times of year, so we’re going to celebrate in style in today’s article. Let’s get the party started with some fun facts and history about Halloween. This info comes courtesy of Good Housekeeping and FactRetriever.com:

  • Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve or Witches Night, goes back more than 2,000 years. It started as a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain (which means “summer’s end”). It celebrated the final day of the harvest and the crossing of spirits over into the other world. People in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France would ward off ghosts by lighting sacrificial bonfires and wearing costumes, according to History.com.
  • Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas. Consumers spent about $9 billion on Halloween in 2018. The average American spends about $86.79 on Halloween every year, including decorations, costumes, candy, and cards.
  • New York City throws the biggest Halloween parade in the U.S.
  • The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with an 836 lb. pumpkin.
  • Speaking of pumpkins, they’re actually classified as a fruit, not as a vegetable. In 2006, New Hampshire actually declared that its state fruit is the pumpkin.
  • Illinois produces up to 5 times more pumpkins than any other state.
  • The record for the most lit pumpkins on display belongs to Keene, New Hampshire with 30,581.
  • The fastest pumpkin carving record belongs to Stephen Clarke, who did it in 16.47 seconds. The pumpkin was required to have a complete face, including eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.
  • The most popular costumes among children are superheroes and princesses., The most popular costume for a dog in 2018 was a pumpkin, and he most popular adult costume is a witch.
  • The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.”

My History with Halloween

As a kid, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. Each year, I made it a goal to stock up on as much candy as I possibly could and then hoard all of it before any of my brothers could steal it. I couldn’t wait to dress up as my favorite scary movie character and go trick-or-treating so I could get my pillowcase full of candy. Haunted houses, scary movies, you name it, if it was scary, I was all about it. These days, I don’t get to celebrate like I used to, but it’s still one of my favorites. I still love all the decorations, atmosphere, and the spirit of the holiday.

Colman St in Clinton Township, MI

Why Do We Love Scary Stuff So Much?

One of my favorite aspects of Halloween is watching scary movies. I grew up adoring horror movies and it was by far my favorite genre. I literally rented every single scary movie my local video store carried. I even started a “40-year old virgin”-style horror figure collection that I still have today.

I’m not as much of a movie buff these days, but still love the horror genre, which is funny because my wife is the total opposite. She does not like horror movies and doesn’t watch them, and can’t understand why anyone would want to put such scary or evil things in their eyes. I’ve tried to explain it to her, but it’s difficult to put into words, which got me thinking, why do we love horror movies so much? It’s a great question, so I did some searching and found this answer in an article from ScienceNordic.com:

“When we watch a horror film, we respond to the dangerous and horrifying situations that are being depicted. We identify with the fictional characters who confront terrifying threats. We feel revulsion and terror. We go through a range of emotions as we’re watching, and through that experience we learn something about our own responses. Horror provides us with insights into ourselves and into the dark corners of the world, and it lets us develop and refine coping skills that may be critical later in life.”

I think that does a good job of describing it. In a way, horror is almost a survival mechanism. By paying close attention to tragedy, we help maximize our own chance for survival. It’s the same reason we can’t help but stare when we see a car wreck on the side of the road. We’re nosy and want to know what happened. We sympathize with the victims but at the same time feel thankful we’re not in their place. But the difference with horror movies is, no one actually has to get hurt.

Colman St in Clinton Township, MI

At the end of the day, humans are curious, nosy, and we want to be entertained. We want to feel something, an emotion, whether it’s happiness, fear, or sympathy, because it energizes us. We laugh at inappropriate jokes, we cheer for our hero, and we demand justice for the villain. We find pleasure in experiencing a variety of emotions in a safe atmosphere. In that aspect, horror is just another way to experience a thrill and have a good time, but it can also train us handle negative emotions more effectively. Horror movies challenge our psychology, question our own behaviors, and allow us to feel fear and pain without actually being threatened.

The moral of the story is, scary movies just make us better people. If you want to know some of my all-time favorites, check out my Top 25 horror movies list.

Top Ranked Halloween Candies

As much as I love Halloween, one thing I can guarantee you that I will NOT be eating this Halloween is any candy. Those days are long behind me. I don’t even see that stuff as food anymore. When I want to treat myself, I stick to real food. If I want something chocolatey, I’ll turn to a Fully Charged Chocolate Smoothie. If I’m craving something sweet, I’ll have some Greek Yogurt Madness or some frozen fruit. As much as I used to love candy, today it’s not even an option in my mind. There’s so many other alternatives that are delicious AND healthy.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m a total snob. I still appreciate great candy, I just don’t eat it. And just for fun, here are America’s Top 10 Halloween Candies according to CandyStore.com:

  1. Skittles
  2. Reese’s Cups
  3. M&M’s
  4. Snickers
  5. Starburst
  6. Candy Corn
  7. Hot Tamales
  8. Tootsie Pops
  9. Sour Patch Kids
  10. Hershey’s

I think Twix and Kit Kat are obvious snubs from this list, but maybe they’re considered more of a cookie than a Halloween candy? I don’t know, but those were my favorites. And here’s a bonus fun fact: The average bag of candy that one child will collect on Halloween contains about 11,000 calories.

For more Halloween fun, check out Episode 15 of the Wise Eats podcast, where there’s plenty more thrills and CHILLS to feast your eyes on. Thanks for reading, FRIENDS AND FIENDS, and until next time, MAKE TERRIFYING CHOICES, MWAAAHAHAHAHA.