It’s nice to know that after a year of many events being canceled, scaled down, or changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are ongoing signs that some things are looking a little more like us remember them.
One of them is Halloween.
Almost all communities in the region plan trick or treating for Saturday or Sunday. In fact, 82 percent of Americans are confident that despite the pandemic, they have been able to develop safe and creative ways to celebrate. That’s according to WalletHub. The Washington, DC-based personal finance website released its annual reports for Halloween, one of several that suggest this should be a good year for those looking to party.
According to WalletHub, our region is in the top 100 in the country when it comes to the best places for Halloween. Pittsburgh ranks 59th on the list of the best Halloween spots. Columbus came in at number 74 on the list, while Cleveland was 82nd. New York City topped the list, which was compiled using 21 metrics, from the number of costume stores per capita to potential trick-or-treat stops.
If you break down the numbers a little, you’ll find that Pittsburgh ranks fifth on the list of most candy and chocolate stores per capita. At the top are Orlando, Fla, New York, Las Vegas and Honolulu with four.
Based on what we know about the area’s demographics, it should come as no surprise that Pittsburgh ranks 98th on the list with the lowest percentage of potential trick-or-treaters, with only Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Francisco having lower numbers.
The highest percentage of potential trick-or-treaters is in Laredo, Texas. That’s the number of children between the ages of 5 and 14 – of which there are 41 million in the country. There are 123 million potential trick or treat stops.
Cleveland has the second lowest average ticket to a Halloween party, behind El Paso, Texas. Among Miami, St. Louis, Norfolk, Virginia, Reno, and New Orleans, there is a chain of five for the highest average price.
And while Colorado Springs has the best average weather forecast for Halloween, Pittsburgh ranks 80th, Cleveland 90th, and Columbus 96th.
It is forecast to spend $ 10.1 billion on Halloween this year, up about 26 percent from last year, with $ 3 billion being spent on candy.
Speaking of candy, candystore.com reports that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups remain the best Halloween candy in the country, followed by Skittles, M & Ms, Starburst, Hot Tamales, Sour Patch Kids, Hershey Kisses, Snickers, Tootsie Pops, and Candy Corn.
Favorite candies vary from state to state, the numbers show. For example, top pick in Ohio is Blow Pops, followed by M&M in second place and Starburst in third place. In Pennsylvania, Hershey’s Miniatures ranks first, followed by M&M in second and Skittles in third. In West Virginia, Hershey’s Miniatures come first and Blow Pops second.
There is also a list of the worst candies – Candy Corn, 10th on the best candy list, tops this list. These include Circus Peanuts, Peanut Butter Kisses, Smarties, Necco Wafers, Wax Coke Bottles, Mary Janes, Tootsie Rolls, Good & Plenty, and Black Licorice.
While these rankings are based on surveys around the country, a less formal but no less reliable poll of editorial staff preferences reveals some interesting candy favorites.
For City editor Mike McElwain, these are Cookies and Cream, closely followed by Zagnut. For Craig Howell, editor-in-chief of the Weirton Daily Times, Almond Joy is at the top – as is reporter Linda Harris. The Clark Bar tops reporter Warren Scott’s list (followed by Whatchamacallit) and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups top the list of sports and news journalist Andrew Grimm. Community Editor Janice Kiaski says York Peppermint Patty is her favorite, followed by Payday and a real classic, the Maple Bun.
If you help me unwrap a white chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, you can find out that, according to WalletHub, 66 percent of Americans plan to give candy to trick or treat and 79 percent of parents admit secretly eating candy they do have collected children.
That was after they spent a total of $ 3.3 billion on Halloween costumes. And while 4.2 million children dress up as their favorite superhero and 1.6 million children as their favorite princess, 1.6 million adults as vampires, 4.6 million adults as witches and 20 percent of Americans dress their pets in costume.
Having fun is important, but staying safe is even more important – WalletHub says three times more pedestrians are killed on Halloween, and 41 percent of vehicle accidents fatal on Halloween night are caused by alcohol.
So be sure to enjoy your favorite candy bar and try to have some fun this weekend, always knowing that the Christmas shopping season will officially open on Monday.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is the editor-in-chief of the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times.)
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