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Bag of tricks

6 facts about Halloween

A stamp-inspired jack-o’-lantern is seen at the Oct. 11 Spooky Silhouettes dedication ceremony.

To help get you into the All Hallows’ Eve spirit, here are six facts about the haunted holiday.

1. Halloween’s origins are found in Celtic Ireland. The holiday’s roots are traced to a Celtic festival for the dead called Samhain. Celts believed ghosts of the dead roamed Earth on this holiday, so people would dress in costumes and leave treats outside their front doors to appease the spirits.

2. Americans will spend big bucks on Halloween this year. According to the National Retail Federation, the holiday will bring in approximately $8.8 billion in sales of costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards.

3. World War II put a damper on trick-or-treating. Sugar rationing during the war put sweets in short supply. After the war, and with production back in full swing, American candy companies revitalized the tradition and even created campaigns encouraging trick-or-treating during Halloween.

4. Six states produce a majority of Halloween’s pumpkins. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Illinois, California, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan annually produce more than 1 billion pounds of the orange-colored gourd.

5. You can save your surplus Halloween treats for later. Leftover candy lasts longer than you think. Dark and milk chocolates can last up to two years if stored in a dry, odor-free spot. Hard candy can last up to a year, and unopened packages of candy corn can last nine months.

6. The Postal Service can help you get into the spirit. In addition to the new Spooky Silhouettes stamps, you can purchase mail carrier costumes for kids and pets through

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