The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches, ghosts and vampires. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have changed dramatically. Today, Halloween is celebrated many different ways, including wearing costumes, children trick or treating, carving pumpkins, and going to haunted houses and parties.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 41 million potential trick-or-treaters in 2010 — children age 5 to 14 — across the United States. Of course, many other children — older than 14 and younger than 5 — also go trick-or-treating.
There were 116.7 million occupied housing units across the nation in 2010 — all potential stops for trick-or-treaters. And 92 percent of households considered their neighborhood safe. In addition, 78 percent said there was no place within a mile of their homes where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.
The Census Bureau reported that Americans consumed 24.7 pounds of candy per capita in 2010, but there was no word on how much of that was eaten at Halloween.
According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins were produced in 2010. Illinois produced an estimated 427 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. California, New York and Ohio were also major pumpkin-producing states, each with an estimate of more than 100 million pounds.
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