Halloween is a spooky night of trick or treating and jack o‘ lanterns. Candy, costumes and cucurbita maxima (more commonly known as pumpkins) add to the mid-fall festivities. On the night of October 31, not only specters but also statistics are in the air. “Statistics?” you ask. What does statistics have to do with Halloween? And where do these Halloween statistics come from?
The U.S. Census Bureau compiles data on numerous aspects of life in the U.S. Although there are not any questions on the census form asking directly about Halloween, there are certain industries, such those involving pumpkins and candy, that the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics collect data on. Every year the Census Bureau looks at the data and releases statistics pertaining to Halloween. Some of the more interesting Halloween statistics are listed below. All of these statistics are for 2010 because that is the most recent census year. If you’re curious about how the data will look for this Halloween, be assured that most of the numbers should be very similar.
- There were an estimated 41 million potential trick or treaters in 2010. This number is really just an estimate from the 2010 U.S. Census of children aged 5 to 14 in the United States. Of course not every child trick or treats. And some trick or treaters fall outside this age range.
- About 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins were grown in 2010. The state of Illinois was responsible for over a third of this production. California, Ohio, and New York collectively produced another third of these pumpkins. How heavy are all these pumpkins? 1.1 billion pounds is equivalent to the weight of over 183 thousand elephants.
- In 2010 there were over 116 million occupied housing units across the United States. Each of these was a potential stop for trick or treaters.
- The U.S. per capita consumption of candy was 24.7 pounds of candy. This number was obtained by dividing the total candy consumption for a year by the population of the U.S. This works out everyone in the U.S. eating one ounce of candy a day, every day of the year.
- Chocolate and cocoa products were manufactured in 1,177 establishments across the country. This contributed over 34 thousand jobs to the U.S. economy, and none of these were Oompa Loompas. Nearly ten percent of the chocolate manufacturing establishments were in Pennsylvania.
- Some places to visit with Halloween themed names include the following. All populations are from 2010:
- Cape Fear in New Hanover County, North Carolina had a population of 18,388. Two films, both named Cape Fear, were set in this area of North Carolina.
- Pumpkin Center, North Carolina had a population of 2,222.
- Pumpkin Bend, Arkansas had a population 276.
- Pumpkin Town, South Carolina is famous for a pumpkin festival on the second Saturday of October.
- Tombstone, Arizona had a population of 1,380. Tombstone is perhaps best known as the site of the old West gunfight at the OK Corral.
- Skull Creek, Nebraska had a population of 271.
- Transylvania County, North Carolina had a population of 33,090. Transylvania comes from the Latin trans for “across” and sylvan for “woods.” Transylvania County is home to the Pisgah National Forest and several waterfalls.
Even if you don’t get to trick or treat in a one of the above places, be sure to be safe. Halloween is indeed full of fun and fright. If the subject of statistics is one of the things that scares you, then check out a few resources here. Happy Halloween!