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Happy Halloween 2013! Seventeen little known facts about the spooky holiday

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Happy Halloween 2013!

It’s no mystery that this annual night of fright is chockfull of candy, costumes and chilling decor, but do you know just how many confectionary treats are actually gobbled up on Halloween? Or the amount of cash spent to make all the macabre magic happen?

Here are some facts that will make you the brainiest of the bunch on All Hallows’ Eve:

  1. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the fastest time to carve a face into a pumpkin is 20.1 seconds, achieved by David Finkle of the United Kingdom. He completed the feat on October 7, 2010, while filming a Halloween show for the BBC.
  2. For some towns in the US, the Halloween theme lasts all year long, thanks to their names. A few that would be especially fun to visit for the holiday: Frankenstein, Missori; Scary, West Virginia; Spook City, Colorado; and Candy Town, Ohio.
  3. No matter how scary your local haunted house is, it probably can’t top the Haunted Cave in Lewisburg, Ohio. It measures 3,564 feet long, and Guinness World Records named it the world’s longest haunted house in 2010 (until it was beaten by a haunted house in Japan in 2011). Even spookier: It’s located 80 feet below ground in an abandoned mine.
  4. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there will be 41.1 million trick-or-treaters ages 5 to 14 in America this year. Parents are expected to spend $1.04 billion on children’s costumes -and if they’re on trend, most of the cash will go toward pumpkin, princess, witch or vampire getups.
  5. Although the cards may be ghoulish, the sentiment is sweet – according to Hallmark, Halloween ranks as the sixth most popular card-giving holiday, with 19 million cards sent each year. Christmas comes in first place, with a whopping 1.6 billion cards sent each year.
  6. Halloween candy coffers wouldn’t be the same without California. Why? Because according to the US Census Bureau, the Golden State leads the nation in non-chocolate confectionary production. Out of the 409 sites that manufacture non-chocolate confections in the US, California is home to 45 of them.
    Halloween 2013

    Halloween 2013

  7. In 1950, Philadelphia-based trick-or-treaters traded in a sweet tooth for a sweet action. In lieu of candy, residents collected change for children overseas and sent it to UNICEF. Subsequently, the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program was born.
  8. Valentine’s Day is no longer the sweetest national holiday – at least when it come to candy sales. More than twice as much chocolate is sold for Halloween as for Valentine’s Day; 90 million pounds of chocolate are sold during Halloween week alone. In total, $1.9 billion is spent on Halloween candy each year
  9. Americans’ enthusiasm to get in the Halloween spirit just keeps growing. According to the National Retail Federation, average spending on Halloween has increased 54% since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013.
  10. A working magician from the age of 17, Harry Houdini (née Ehrich Weisz) became America’s favorite magician and a world-renown legend for his daring escapes. It was only fitting, then, for this master trickster to die on October 31, 1926 – from a ruptured appendix.
  11. Since its invention in 1898 by the Herman Goelitz Confectionery Co. of Fairfield, California, (now known as the Jelly Belly Candy Co.), candy corn has been wildly popular – so much so that today, more than 35 million pounds of candy corn are produced each year.
  12. It was just tricks – no treats – for Charlie Brown in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. In the 1966 TV special, he utters: “I got a rock,” while trick-or-treating. The phrase went on to become one of the most famous lines in Peanuts history.
  13. Halloween wouldn’t be the same without pumpkins, and thankfully, there are plenty of gourds to go around. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, in 2010, the top pumpkin-producing states – Illinois, California, New York and Ohio – produced 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins.
  14. Due to safety concerns, trunk-or-treating was introduced in 2000 as an alternative to hitting the pavement for candy on Halloween night. Cars are parked in a circle at a school or church parking lot, with event-goers decorating their open trunks and dressing in costume in order to hand out treats
  15. From its vampy costumes and sweet treats to macabre household decorations, Halloween is big business. So big, in fact, that it’s the second-largest commercial holiday in America – only Christmas surpasses it in sales.
  16. In 2010, Belleville, Illinois, became the latest city to ban trick-or-treating for kids over 12. Teens can face fines from $100 to $1,000 for going door-to-door (although according to officials, more often than not, over-age Halloween-goers are just given a warning).
  17. Got leftover Halloween candy? Save it for later! Dark and milk chocolates can last up to two years if stored in a dry, odor-free spot. Hard candy can last up to a year, while unopened packages of candy corn can last nine months.