Halloween in the modern world

(National) Oct. 27, 2005 - In the United States, the first recorded instance of a Halloween celebration occurred in Anoka, Minn., in 1921. Times have changed since then.

From Tombstone, Arizona to Transylvania County, North Carolina; and Pumpkin Bend township, Arkansas to Skull Creek township, Nebraska, Americans are eager to celebrate that most spooky of holidays.

Nowadays there are about 36 million children of "trick-or-treating" age in the US, five to 13, many of them going door to door in search of something sweet.

There are about 106 million households that could potentially welcome these children.

Many of the houses sport the latest fashion in Halloween decoration, the Jack 'O Lantern. In 2004, pumkin producing states grew 998 million pounds of pumpkins. Illinois, with a production of 457 million pounds, led the country.

Pumpkin patches in California, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York also produced a lot of pumpkins: each state produced at least 70 million pounds worth. The value of all the pumpkins produced by these states was $100 million.

Once the children get past the carved decorations, it's time for the treats. And there are plenty available.

The Census Bureau counts 1,271 US manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2003. They shipped $12 billion worth of goods that year. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 146, followed by Pennsylvania, with 120.

And there's more, for all those who prefer a slightly different sweet, 519 US establishments manufactured nonchocolate confectionary products in 2003. California also led the nation in this category, with 79 establishments.

So as the night wraps up, children take home their goodies. And once approved by the parents, the Halloween feast begins. Those Halloween treats add up, contributing to the yearly total of about 25 pounds per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2004.

Information courtesy of the US Census Bureau

Posted 10:00pm by Chantelle Janelle

Editor's note: Some of the preceding data were collected in surveys and, therefore, are subject to sampling error.