There’s a lot going on on the national scene. Given that, it’s a good time to drive around the United States to see what’s going on. We don’t want to miss anything important.
Halloween is upon us and that means we better be ready for the trick-or-treaters. “According to the National Retail Federation, spending on Halloween candy is expected to reach $3.1 billion this year. This is a new historical record.
It’s a good idea to stock up on munchkin favorites. CandyStore.com lists the top five choices nationally as: Reese’s Cups, Skittles, M&M’s, Starburst and Hot Tamales. In Michigan, it’s Starburst, Candy Corn and Butterfinger. To see preferences in each state, go to: https://www.candystore.com/blogs/facts-trivia/halloween-candy-map-popular.
Of course, the right costume is key if you want to score top-notch treats. FrightGeist tells us that the most popular costumes nationally this year are: Witch, Spiderman, Dinosaur, Stranger Things and Fairy. The best in Michigan are: Witch, Joker, Pirate, Dinosaur and Darth Vader. See a list of the 99 most popular outfits at: https://frightgeist.withgoogle.com/costumes#top-costumes.
You never know what you’ll encounter while going door-to-door, but it’s best to avoid haunted houses.
“Every state has its collection of urban legends, haunted houses, and other spooky attractions.” Home Advisor discovered “the states with the highest concentration of hauntings”. You have a 30% chance of buying a haunted house in New Jersey, but only an 8% chance in Michigan.
Michigan also ranks at the bottom of the list of “scary states in the United States”. Our state is the sixth least scary. “Wyoming rightfully claims the top spot. Wyoming is known for its rich history of outlaws and urban legends, like The Sundance Kid. (https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/probability-of-buying-haunted-houses-in-the-us/)
When driving from haunted house to haunted house, it might be appropriate to check out some related oddities – ridiculously weird roadside attractions.
“Every state in the country is littered with random nonsense. These are the true gems of off-road kitsch and wonder. For example, Alaska has a museum dedicated to hammers. Indiana has the biggest paintball in the world. Minnesota has a spam museum.
Michigan should not be overshadowed, however. We have “Da Yoopers Tourist Trap”
in Ispeming. “Da Yoopers Tourist Trap is an ode to both the UP life and the tacky, slightly funny stuff. There’s a ton of folk art, including the world’s largest working chainsaw, a painting of beer-drinking deer hanging out at a manhunting lodge, and plenty of outhouses. There’s no such thing, which is probably a good thing. (https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/weird-roadside-attractions-strangest-road-trip-sights)
On your road trip, you might want a snack. For that, how about something tasty, good for the economy, and even a bit patriotic? Simple. Eat cheese. “As of August 2022, the United States had 1.5 billion pounds of cheese in cold storage across the country. That’s about $3.4 billion worth of cheese.
Why so much cheese? “Over the past 30 years, milk production in the United States has increased by 50%. Yet, while milk production has increased, milk consumption has decreased. In response to this predicament, the US government and dairy companies have been buying the extra milk and storing it (nationwide) as cheese for years. (https://www.visualcapitalist.com/us-cheese-stockpile/)
This tells me that putting extra cheese on nachos or a few more slices on a botched cheeseburger is the right thing for every American to do. With citizenship comes great responsibility. We all have to do our part.
Finally, while Halloween is an exciting time for kids, let’s not forget those with a few extra miles on their personal odometer. According to multiple sources: “The number of Americans age 65 and older will more than double over the next 40 years, reaching 80 million by 2040. The number of adults age 85 and older will almost quadruple by 2040. Michigan has the 14th highest percentage. residents aged 65 and over from every state in the country.
So the question is obvious. “How do you know if you are old? Fortunately, BuzzFeed has the answer at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/how-to-tell-if-youre-old-list. Here you will find a selection of photos and “If you recognize any of these 32 photos, you are officially old”.
For example, one of the image captions reads, “If you’ve ever watched TV on a big piece of wood, you’re old.” Another notes: “If you’ve ever had to use a can opener to drink Hawaiian punch, you’re old. Or this, “If you’ve ever answered a phone and didn’t know who was on the other end, you’re old.”
Full disclosure. I got all 32 right. Luckily, I can drown my sorrows by diving into one of those 255 Halloween candy bags. These fiery deceivers are alone.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone reviews online at CadillacNews.com or NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.