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Posts published in “Day: October 31, 2014”

Is Halloween really a big deal?

rainey BARRETT


I’ve never been a real fan of Halloween. Might be because, when I was a kid, we lived on a large ranch in Central Washington. Nearest neighbor was a long, long way down the dirt road. Making the rounds to get a really good-sized bag of treats would’ve taken most of a tank of gas in the truck. May have been only $0.20 a gallon then, but that was a lot of money to Dad.

So, Halloween came and went without me. Ranch chores were always - always - the top priority. Guess by the time we’d moved to Oregon and had real neighbors - real close - I was too old to get the Halloween bug.

All these years later, I’m still amazed at some of the statistics connected with Halloween. Such as, according to the Census Bureau, there are about 41 million kids in this country ages five to 14. And there are about 132 million occupied housing units - nearly all potential trick-or-treater stops.

And this. The six top pumpkin-producing states are Illinois, California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The value of their annual crop is about $113 million. Talking some big bucks.

So, what about costumes? Well, the Census folks figure there are 1,634 costume rental and formal wear stores in the country. Not sure what the formal wear stores contribute to the occasion, but they’re counted. Not to mention discount and department stores.

And candy. Of course, candy. Glad you asked. Across the nation, there are 1,155 chocolate manufacturing locations. Imagine that. Pennsylvania has 102 all by itself. Can’t forget the folks at Hershey’s. There are 100 more chocolate producers in California. Tip of the hat to Ghiradelli, too.

And the candy corn, mellow pumpkins and other non-chocolate goodies are created in another 409 businesses. Some 55,000 people are employed in the candy-making craft. So I’m told.

Just so you’ll know, there are a few places in the good ol’ U.S. of A. with names befitting Halloween. My favorite is Transylvania County, North Carolina. Just has a nice, spooky ring to it. Then there’s Pumpkin Center, North Carolina and Cape Fear, North Carolina. Seems North Carolina is spooky for more than just crazy Republican politics. And don’t forget Tombstone, Arizona, and Skull Creek, Nebraska. How about Death Valley?

Well, there you are. Some Halloween facts and figures for your history books. If you’ve got youngsters in your household, I wish them good times in their door-to-door scavenging. Up to about age 14. I’m sure it’ll be lots of fun.

As for taxpayers in Idaho this Halloween, it will pass largely unnoticed by anyone over the age of 15. For Idaho taxpaying folk - given the latest string of absolutely wasted tax dollars for outside attorneys to represent them in guaranteed loser political issues in various courts - every day is Halloween. With no end in sight.

For we older folk living in more realistic political surroundings, October 31, has an even scarier meaning this year. General election. Now, you talk about striking fear in the heart!!!

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Last governor debate held (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Mental community rehabilitation struggles (Boise Statesman)
Superintendent candidates debate again (IF Post Register)
Idaho health exchange moves from fed computer (IF Post Register)
Asotin Co tries online pot survey (Lewiston Tribune)
Hanford fumes cleanup problem noted (Moscow News)
Democrats facing tough contests (Nampa Press Tribunne)
Nampa Nazarene administrator retiring (Nampa Press Tribune)
Candidate Jones in guardianship case (TF Times News)

Eugene students cast mock votes (Eugene Register Guard)
OSU reseaches Ebola (Eugene Register Guard)
Walden challenged as Houe R campaign head (Medford Tribune)
Big pot fights in OR, Alaska (Medford Tribune)
Umatilla Co merges finances offices (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Lawsuits over commercial reactor possible (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Richardson: Kitzhaber hiding out (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Disabled parking placard change frees parking (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing the top two ballot issue (Portland Oregonian)
Church mentor dropped at Salem school (Salem Statesman Journal)

Planners look at more Kitsap-Seattle ferries (Bremerton Sun)
Poll shows lead for gun background checks (Bremerton Sun)
Review police action at Marysville shooting (Everett Herald)
Will Marysville change gun politics in WA? (Everett Herald)
Longview port may see another record year (Longview News)
Cowlitz candidates oppose background check law (Longview News)
Green Creek Wood closes permanently (Port Angeles News)
Navy extends comment on electronic warfare plan (Port Angeles News)
Sound Transit considers $15b rail expansion plan (Seattle Times)
Spokane conaiders name for city hall plaza (Spokane Spokesman)
Idaho governor debate battle rages (Spokane Spokesman)
Rape cases changes with Supreme Court decision (Vancouver Columbian)