Wednesday, October 31, 2007

OCTOBER 31, 2007

Step One
Go in a group accompanied by at least one adult, and carry a flashlight.

Step Two
Obey all traffic laws, cross streets only at crosswalks and walk on the sidewalk at all times.

Step Three
Visit only well-lit homes with porch lights and/or other exterior lights on.

Step Four
Wear costumes that are flame-resistant, and make sure costumes do not drag or otherwise pose the threat of tripping you.

Step Five
Put reflective tape on costumes to make them visible to drivers at night.

Step Six
Make sure you can see where you are going if you are wearing a mask.

Step Seven
Stand away from jack-o'-lanterns that contain candles, and never go into a home unless you know the occupants well and the adult accompanying you goes in also.

Step Eight
Make sure everyone stays in the group and stragglers don't get left behind.

--Consider going trick-or-treating before dark.

--Form a "trick-or-treat" group of people from your church or school. Go to those homes only, or have a trick-or-treat party in the parking lot of the church or school, with each family offering treats out of a decorated car or van.

--Some hospitals will X-ray the contents of trick-or-treat bags for foreign objects as a community service.

--Do not eat candy while trick-or-treating. Bring it home, inspect all the items and throw away any previously opened or otherwise suspicious treats.

I'm not sure when this happened... but, somehow, Halloween REALLY has become one of THE biggest American holidays. Check this out: According to a new survey by Visa, 73% of Americans, or almost three-quarters, say they celebrate Halloween.

This year, the average adult will spend $40 on Halloween candy and decorations. If you have kids under 18, that jumps up to $54... if you don't have kids under 18, it drops to $32.

Other figures...
--100,000. The number of people who used to plan Halloween parties this year. That's up 22% from last year.

--83. The percentage of people, ages 18 to 24, who say they're going to go to a party, dress up or pass out candy tonight. Just four years ago, the number was only 67%.

--FIVE BILLION. The amount of money that Americans spent on Halloween this year. Two years ago, we spent $3 BILLION.

--90. The percentage of parents who steal Halloween candy from their kids' baskets.

--35 MILLION. The pounds of candy corn that were manufactured this year.

--310 MILLION. The amount Americans spent on Halloween greeting cards this year, up 16% from last year.

--1.4 BILLION. The amount Americans spent on Halloween decorations this year... which makes Halloween the second-biggest decorating holiday in the U.S., behind Christmas.

--1988. Nineteen years ago, when the most popular pop culture costume in the U.S. was dressing up as... one of the CALIFORNIA RAISINS.

--41.0 million people will be “Trick or treating this year. the estimated number of potential "trick-or-treaters" 5- to 14-year-olds across the United States in 2002, down by about 40,000 from 2000. This number is greater than the "baby boom" children in this age range counted in the 1970 census (40.7 million). Of course, many "kids" older than 14, and younger than 5, also dress up for the holiday.

--106 million potential stops for "trick-or-treaters" i.e., housing units occupied year-round.

--There were 2,715 formal wear and costume rental establishments across the nation in 2001.

Step One
Have your child dump out all the candy he received when going door to door. Doing this on a table in a well-lit room is helpful.

Step Two
If you want to be extra safe, separate out all homemade goodies or fresh fruit. Unless you know the neighbor who packed little bags of homemade popcorn or rice krispie treats, or who gave the apple, you might want to throw those away.

Step Three
Remove and toss out all unwrapped candy.

Step Four
Gently inspect the remainder of the store-bought candy for any open packaging or anything that looks like it has been damaged or tampered with.

-It helps if you go with your child trick-or-treating. With supervision, your child will only trick-or-treat to safe houses in a neighborhood you know. This will add to your feeling of security.

-When removing candy from young children's pile try to be discreet. Your child will be excited about her treasure. Steer her toward the safe pieces while you quietly remove the pieces you don't want her to eat.

**Thinly Disguised Casual Wear. It's not really a costume to just throw on sweats, jeans, shorts, or other super-casual non-dress-code clothing in lieu of your professional norm. Even if you try to cop out saying you're dressed up as a bum, urban cowboy or yourself on vacation, your employer likely won't appreciate the joke. This attitude of minimal effort can be seen as insubordinate rather than participatory. If you're going to dress up, give it an honest shot.

**The Sexy Version. If you want to wear a sexy costume, reserve it for your post-work parties. Even though dressing up for Halloween at work is an escape from the norm, you should still respect your dress code guidelines and not reveal too much.

**Blood and Guts. Many people associate Halloween with the scary side of life, but keep the gore to a minimum when it comes to what you'll wear to work. Remember, people have to interact with you, so don't wear something that will cause discomfort when you enter the room. To keep your costume from being outrageously gory, wait to add the extra blood factor until you've clocked out.

**The Political Statement. There are a lot of political satire-based costumes out there, but work isn't typically the place to showcase your political ideology. Just as you should respect people you work with in what you choose to speak about at work, pick a costume with respect for other people in mind.

Did you ever avoid a house because you knew they were giving out really bad candy? How did you feel after receiving a box of raisins or an apple? Were you ever embarrassed about what you’re house was giving out on Halloween?

The Six Worst Halloween Treats
1. Apples
2. Boxes of Raisins
3. Candy Corn
4. Dum Dum Suckers
5. Old, Stale Candy
6. Baked Goods

The Six Best Halloween Treats
1. Reeses
2. Snickers
3. Milky Way
4. M&M's
5. Skittles
6. Butterfinger

... since 1995, trick or treating in the town of Sandusky, Ohio, has been against the law for anyone older then 14?

The judges, the dancers and the studio audience were stunned when Dancing With the Star's top couple this season, Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan and partner Mark Ballas, found themselves paired with All My Children's Cameron Mathison and partner Edyta Swilinska in the bottom two during last night's Results show. But the shocked continued when Sabrina and Mark were ousted in the final minutes of the show. The eliminated couple had placed either first or second consistently since the season kicked off in September and, while they did slip during Monday night's competition, they were still solidly in the middle. Maybe her fans thought she was safe... maybe her judges scores were keeping her afloat all along... I'm shocked, though.

In a contradiction of sorts, professional Tony Dovolani was equally surprised that he and Doctor Quinn's Jane Seymour -- who had received the lowest score for their lackluster jive -- were allowed to remain. Jane was absent from last night's broadcast due to an apparent case of food poisoning.

While the remaining couples created a human barrier from the cameras and audience to the obviously shaken Sabrina and Mark, Barry Manilow serenading them off the show with the Frankie Valli hit "My Eyes Adored You."