by Nathan Erb
Need some inspiration to get a head start to make this Halloween the best ever? Consider this your October motivational guide. With the air getting cooler, it’s time to start consuming all-things-pumpkin while turning your home into a haunted house. Here’s a look at everything from choosing a hit Halloween costume to the best haunted places in America.
1. Be Seen In One Of The Top Halloween Costumes
Children of all ages get the opportunity to bring out their alter egos each October. Which characters will you be seeing this year at Halloween bashes and trick-or-treat marathons? Here are our top 5 picks.
- Harry Potter – With the release of the latest film, characters from Harry Potter will again be popular in 2011.
- Lady Gaga – The pop star continues to come up with new costume ideas. But even if you were “Born this Way,” we don’t recommend a meat dress.
- Mad Men – The classic 1950’s styling of this show makes for an easy do-it-yourself costume.
- Superheroes -- The blockbuster movies give you plenty of options. We like Captain America, Batman, Green Lantern, Thor, and Bumblebee from Transformers.
- Smurf (or Smurfette) – The 3D movie released this year should renew interest in the small blue fictional creatures.
2. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
It’s a holiday loved by almost everyone except—or maybe especially—dentists. After all, Americans spend over $2 billion on the sugary goodness each Halloween. Because you don’t want to be known as “that house” that hands out apples to trick-or-treaters, here is the history of a few popular Halloween treats.
- Tootsie Rolls – Debuted in 1896, the chewy chocolate treat is still a favorite. It was the first penny candy to be individually wrapped.
- M&M’s – The candy that “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand” was first seen on black-and-white TV’s in 1954.
- Snickers – The best selling candy bar on the planet was named after a horse owned by the Mars family in 1930.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Hershey’s produces 30 million pounds of them each Halloween. The treat was created in 1928 by Harry Burnett Reese, a dairy farmer and a Hershey's shipping foreman.
- Candy Corn – Nothing says Halloween like these orange, yellow, and white treats — 9 billion pieces of the iconic candy will be produced.
3. Get The Best Movies & Music
Looking to get into the Halloween spirit all month? We’re here to quench your thirst for scary movies and Halloween playlist tracks. We asked readers on the GEICO Blog to name their favorites last year, and we’d once again love to hear yours.
4. Visit America's Most Haunted Places
Ghost hunters will be traveling the country in search of a late-night scare. If you’re brave enough, join them and take the haunted house experience to another level.
Here are 5 places not for the faint of heart.
- Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, PA) – Now open for tours, this is a favorite destination for ghost hunters. Built in 1829, the prison was meant to house 250 inmates, but at one time crammed 1,700 inmates into its structure.
- The Whaley House (San Diego, CA) – Built in 1857 and said to be the most haunted house in America, the house was built on grounds where a gallows and a cemetery used to be.
- The Myrtles Plantation (St. Francisville, LA) – Allegedly haunted by several troubled ghosts, the Myrtles’ sightings have included the ghosts of small children and an attorney who resided there in the 19th century.
- The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, CO) – The hotel that was the inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Shining” is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the original owners, Freelan Stanley and his wife Flora.
- The Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA) – Now a hotel, the grand old ship is said to be haunted by ghosts of children by the pool, a 17-year-old sailor in the engine room and a phantom who can be heard screaming in the bow of the ship.
5. Be Safe
After all, we are an insurance company, so you had to see this one coming. We don’t have any safety tips for the haunted places above, but we can help keep you and pedestrians safe on Halloween night. Check out these resources for everything from trick-or-treating safety to pumpkin carving tips.