Halloween is finally here, and I can’t wait to be done with it. I’ve lost count of how many events we’ve been to in the past few weeks. I can’t take much more of the showering of candy on my girls’ teeth, especially in a village that doesn’t add fluoride to its water.
I’m beginning to wonder if there is a grand dentist conspiracy going on to make sure their patients start young and keep coming back. It’s hard to say that out loud. Some of my best friends are dentists.
Seriously. Our first Halloween event was a trunk-or-treat at the school. This is where parents line up their cars and open their trunks, decorated in a spooky fashion, and the kids walk from trunk to trunk, collecting sweets.
With the cars parked next to each other, the children only have to take two or three steps between trunks. This guarantees they will not exert many of the calories they are about to gobble up the rest of the evening.
My parents have already brought over big sugary orange cupcakes. And a neighbor’s birthday party recently handed out ghoulish cookies to the kids. Everyone means well, and it all looks great, but we risk become diabetes candidates if we ate it all.
We are lucky that we live in the Sandhills Triangle, as I like to call it, with Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen so close. But during this holiday, that means at least three different Halloween events will be available to us — if not more — where the sweets and the costumes will abound.
We couldn’t skip the trick-or-treating at the Fresh Market, especially after the store put up a huge sign announcing the event, with emphasis on the treats. No way to go shopping without my kids seeing that sign, making it very hard to say no. Impossible also to skip the hayride party at the club.
And then there will be one more day. What was it, again? Oh yes. It is the 31st itself. Our neighbors will have a party for the kids and more trick-or-treating. At least there will be adult treats at this one — the kind you get at the ABC store — because by then we will need it.
Now that the government shutdown is over, the national media doesn’t have much to report on, so we’ve been blessed with Halloween trivia. I’ve learned some interesting things about this never-ending holiday. In Alabama, apparently, it is illegal to dress up as a priest for Halloween. Who knew?
Today is National Candy Corn Day — like that candy needs help right now? In 2005, about 35 million pounds of candy corn were made, according to the National Confectioners Association. That’s 9 billion kernels, of which just 25 are equal to 140 calories. Look out, parents. Apparently more than 90 percent of us sneak candy from our kids’ bags after they go to sleep.
Overall, we will spend an estimated $6.9 billion on Halloween, even after cutting back from $8 billion last year. That’s 75 bucks per person, according to the National Retail Federation. Almost half of all homes will decorate their yards.
(If you haven’t seen our neighbors on Diamondhead Drive, it’s worth a drive by. The blow-up creatures are bigger than some cars.)
Almost half of us will wear a costume, but only 14 percent will dress up their pets, according to CNN. The most popular pet costumes are pumpkins and hot dogs — apparently the shape of the dog plays a role in making that choice.
It is a good thing that the government shutdown is over. I see that with the census website back in working order that a page has been created for Halloween this year, full of spooky census facts. They tell us that:
— More than 41 million people went trick-or-treating last year.
— A total of 47,800 acres of pumpkins were harvested last year, producing pumpkins worth $149 million.
—Illinois had the most pumpkin patches.
—Scary town names include Tombstone, Ariz., Sleepy Hollow, Ill., and Kill Devil Hills, N.C.
Well, that just about exhausts all we need to know about this holiday — and then some. I noticed Costco put out its Christmas decorations about six weeks ago. We now no longer have to wait, but can proceed immediately to more than two months of preparation for the biggest commercial holiday of the year now that the second-biggest is nearing a close.
Where’s my Christmas music? Better yet, where are my earplugs?
Marybeth Sandell recently moved to Pinehurst from Sweden with her husband and two daughters.