Share this article

print logo

A mixed bag of Halloween trivia treats

It won't be as much fun as raiding my daughter's trick-or-treat bag later tonight but, before that, I intend to share some Halloween trivia with my family.

Over our traditional Halloween supper of vegetarian chili, for example, I will drop this startling bit of news:

Blood-sucking vampire bats are real!

A recent e-mail from the National Wildlife Federation tells me so. But the bats, so commonly associated with Halloween, mostly feed on chickens and cows and only live in Latin America.

(Yes, they can be found at the new M&T Bank Rainforest Falls at the Buffalo Zoo -- where they dine on cows' blood, I am told -- but they certainly aren't native to Buffalo.)

Most North American bats are insect eaters, feeding on moths, mosquitoes, beetles and such, the NWF reminds us.

Anyone want some more chili?

But I'm just warming up here. Halloween trivia is everywhere. According to the National Confectioners Association (, candy corn has been around for more than 100 years.

According to Hallmark, Americans exchange about 35 million Halloween cards each year (my daughter received one this year, but it was not from her parents).

I even read that Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America. That Halloween -- with roots dating back to ancient times -- is now the third largest party day in the U.S. behind New Year's Eve and Super Bowl Sunday.

And that -- here we go again -- 90 percent of adults admit to sneaking goodies from their kids' Halloween trick-or-treat bags.


Some other trivia to share:

*Places to think about today: Transylvania County, N.C.; Tombstone, Ariz.; Pumpkin Bend, Ark.; Cape Fear (on the coast of North Carolina); Skull Creek, Neb.

*This story from the Patriot Ledger, a daily newspaper in Quincy, Mass.: "Steve Connolly of Sharon can still be proud of growing the largest pumpkin in the world this year, even though his 1,568-pound 'Beast from the East' was disqualified from the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers annual weigh-off last week by a small crack."

The pumpkin was flawed.

*Also from "Jack-o-lanterns are an Irish tradition. In Ireland, oversized rutabagas, turnips and potatoes were hollowed-out, carved into faces and illuminated with candles to be used as lanterns during Halloween celebrations."

*Pumpkins, which were introduced to colonists by American Indians, were not just popular for food, according to Martha Stewart Living.

They were also used as general pain relievers and as treatments for bladder problems.

The best, though: The seeds, when consumed, were believed to remove freckles.

*Famous people born on Halloween: Dan Rather; Jane Pauley; '80s rapper Vanilla Ice; poet John Keats; late actors John Candy and Michael Landon; photographer Helmut Newton.

*Famous people who died on Halloween: actors River Phoenix and John Houseman; magician Harry Houdini; Italian film director Federico Fellini.

OK, let's talk candy.


There are no comments - be the first to comment