October 30, 2009

Five things you didn't know about Halloween!

Posted: 12:19 PM ET

Editor's Note: Don't miss a very scary Larry King Live tonight! Ghostbuster Dan Akroyd and others join Larry to talk ghosts, goblins and spirits!

via Huffington Post

Halloween Mask1) Halloween Is The Second Highest Grossing Commercial Holiday After Christmas

What used to be just a singular holiday with minimal things to purchase has turned into an entire "Halloween Season." Between decorative lights and lawn ornaments, elaborate costumes and loads of candy, the average American spends a pretty penny on this fall holiday. However popular Halloween has become, the recession has affected spending for this year's spooky night. Spending is down, according the the National Retail Federation. Shoppers will spend an average of $56.31 on the holiday compared to $66.54 in 2008. Some ways people are cutting down include making homemade costumes, using last year's decorations and buying less expensive candies. For the children's sake, let's hope everyone doesn't resort to giving out apples and pennies. Didn't you just hate that as a kid?

2) Harry Houdini died on October 31, 1926

The famous magician was killed (accidentally) by a McGill University student named J. Gordon Whitehead who was hitting him in the stomach repeatedly as part of a stunt. A week later he died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix. Despite acute appendicitis, Houdini refused to seek medical treatment. 

3) There's A Phobia For That

Samhainophobia is an intense and persistent fear of Halloween that can cause panic attacks in sufferers. Other relevant phobias for this time of year: wiccaphobia (fear of witches), phasmophobia (fear of ghosts), and coimetrophobia (fear of cemeteries).

4) The First Jack-O-Lanterns Weren't Made Out Of Pumpkins

They were originally hollowed-out turnips. The modern practiced mutated from the Irish tradition of carving faces of the the dead onto the gourds and putting candles inside to make them glow. These days your Jack-O-Lantern is most made out of a pumpkin, which most likely came from Illinois–a state that grew 542 million pounds of pumpkin in 2007.

5) One Quarter Of All The Candy Sold Annually Is For Halloween Night

Yes, no matter how much we eat for Christmas and Thanksgiving, Halloween has corned the market on candy. As a country we consume 20 million pounds of candy corn a year. Handing out Halloween treats is the perfect excuse to eat some too, as four-in-ten (41%) adults admit that they sneak sweets from their own candy bowl. And if you're a kid, hang on to your basket, because home is where the candy thief is as 90% of parents admit to sneaking goodies from their kids' Halloween trick-or-treat bags. But whether your stealing some, handing out some or having yours stolen, chances are you'll get your hands (or miss getting your hands) on a Snickers bar, it has been the number 1 Halloween candy for years.

Filed under: Larry King Live

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Jessie from Auckland, NZ   October 30th, 2009 10:11 pm ET

Do people know the meaning of Halloween. I mean the true meaning. Well I hope so. Sorry to spoil your fun. I don't buy it anymore.

Katrina,Ohio   October 30th, 2009 10:26 pm ET

What is the true meaning of halloween?

A. Smith   October 31st, 2009 3:25 am ET

The Pope ordered the total destruction of the pagan holiday known as Samhain and introduced All Saints Day in its place. All Hallows as Halloween became known as, is by far the most openly celebrated day honoring the spirits of the past.

If you treat the spirits of the past with respect and candy's, they'll treat you in kind.

If you pull a Bush-Cheney and treat the spirits of the past with disrespect and a empty stomach, they'll trick you and treat you in kind.

Every year the Pope and self-titled Christian Ministers and Preachers attempt to shut-down the observance of Halloween. Every year, they fail and Halloween remains ever more popular than before.

Any spirit of the death knows more about Life after Death than any living Pope, Minister, Preacher, Ayatollah, Cleric or Mullah.

A. Smith

Virginia Taylor   October 31st, 2009 2:09 pm ET


This is a story of “once upon a time” – of something that we heard but did not see. Something that happened when I was a small child – but I never forgot the experience.

It started this way. My brother, Truman, always a light sleeper, awakened to what he thought was the tinkling of a bell. As he listened, there was suddenly an unearthly scream that seemed to be just outside his window. My other brother, J.D., sleeping nearby, awoke with a start, saying, “What in the h¬-- was that?”

Truman admonished his brother to be quiet, and quickly ran to close and lock the front door. (Back in those days in warm weather very few people did more than latch their screens.) Then my two brothers came through the house to awaken Mama and Papa. But then another even more intense scream awakened us girls and Truman indicated that we should be quiet. Then using a phone right at Papa’s bedside, he told the operator, “Operator, get me the police. There’s a maniac right outside our house.”

Awaking from a sound sleep, Papa inquired loudly, “A maniac?”

Just as Truman shushed him, there was the scream again.

We waited and then the police were at our house shining their spotlight around the yard. With their arrival, we felt it safe to come out of the house and the family, next door, came out also. They had also heard the screams.

The police couldn’t find human or animal tracks, so there seemed to be no solution to the mystery. The police suggested it could have been a howling dog. But neither we, nor the neighbor, agreed. Was it a panther that had somehow escaped from someone who kept exotic animals? Or was it an unhappy ghost.

It remained an unsolved mystery.

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