The Skary Skelly 2016 Halloween Message 

Making Halloween Great Again. A proud Skelly tradition for fourteen years.

H ey, kids! This Halloween falls in a presidential election year. Again. The fourth we've weatherd in these annual web moments we share. And what an election. Halloween 2016 promises to be the scariest one ever.

Retailers report that both Hillary and Donald masks are flying off the shelves. Trump is winning. But he's so weird, it could be hard to pick a clear winner from mask sales this year. Kind of like Sarah Palin. Remember her? Or a car wreck. Difficult to look away.

What is clear is that there are distinct regional dispositions to the buying patterns. Just like voting. Donald masks could be expected to do better in places like Wyoming, North Dakota, Louisiana and other heartland seats of higher learning. Only, the Donald model is also selling very well in the East Village. That could owing to the fact that those cats have a keen sense of humor. Or maybe something else is afoot that the polls haven't picked up on yet.

In past elections we've looked to economic trends for election guidance, but Republicans seem to lost interest in this subject after warning us and warning us and watching as nothing turned out as bad as they'd hoped. The Donald is still selling gloom and doom, and the truly devout hang on the substance, such as it is, of anything he says. Most of his followers are all "build that wall" and "lock her up" and grab that p***." Much more fun. No facts to digest. Bustin' makes me feel good.

Let the record show that the market is near an all-time high, unemployment is down to 5%, Obama's approval ratings are in the mid 50s. The way thing are, it's likely even Republicans would let him try a third term. Income gains are finally reaching the middle class, GDP is a sluggish 1.4% but job numbers, while not robust, continue to improve. And life expectancy is climbing for everyone except black motorists.

Let the record also show that a portion of the populace feels displaced, overlooked and annoyed. And Donald Trump appears to be the handiest port for those caught in that particular storm. No better case could be made for the importance of a liberal arts education.

With political polarization, the hardening of hearts and the complete disappearance of factual accuracy from the public discourse, we don't get the landslide elections used to, where one candidate wins 48 or 49 states (Johnson in '64, Nixon in '71). But Hillary looks headed for 300 electoral votes (out 538) and a 5% margin in the popular vote. A neat trick for a woman adjudged the second most disliked presidential candidate in history. Just her good fortune to draw as her opponent the one guy in history more disliked than she is.

The polls are approaching stasis. But polls can still be wrong. Victory for Trump is not out of reach, if only barely so. Especially in a race that shows itself to be such an untraditional affair. It's could come down to who turns out to vote and who stays home. Or the FBI.

The Donald chose to forgo building a get-out-the-vote organization, while Hillary has built a fairly robust one. That should favor her chances. As should her opponent's penchant for serial self-destruction. Regardless, the media is pulling for a close race, and that's what you'll get from them from now til it's over. In the "news biz." a tight contest is good for employment.

Consumers are pulling for treats over tricks. Consumer confidence is at its highest level in nine years.

🎃 More than 171 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, spending an average $82.93, up $8.59 from last year.
🎃 Total spending is expected to reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high according to the National Retail Foundation.
🎃 Celebrants plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes, $2.5 billion on candy, $2.4 billion on decorations and $390 million on greeting cards.
🎃 Millennials are now most likely of all adults to celebrate Halloween. They’re also among the top spenders on costumes, shelling out $42.39 on average compared with $31.03 for all adults.
🎃 The number of families planning to go trick and treating door-to-door is up slightly from last year but still lower than in the past several years. Events like parking lot "Trunk-or-Treating" and Halloween festivals are gaining popularity as alternatives.

So you kids have fun tonight. Evidently for you guys it's age-appropriate again. Watch out for clowns. Keep in mind, they can be hard to spot. Not all of them wear costumes.


Ps: Bartenders characterize Halloween in the same way they do New Years Eve: amateur night.

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Can Halloween Masks Predict the Winner of the Election?
Oct 13, 2016

For decades, Howie Beige of Rubie's Costume Co. has been able to call the presidential election in advance by looking at one indicator: which presidential masks sells the best. Rubie's, in Queens, is the largest manufacturer of costumes in the world. It was founded in 1951 and is still a family-run business.

Trump mask sales are way ahead of Clinton sales, but it's very possible that Howie's usual formula is breaking down in this unusual campaign.

"This year may be slightly different for a couple of reasons," Beige says.

"One of our political candidates is male, one of our political candidates is female. Please understand, most women won't put on a heavy, sweaty latex mask on. Men wear most of the masks.

"The other thing is that one of our candidates is so controvertial maybe they're buying that mask as a mockery.

"Frankly this is the first time that I can tell you I'm not so sure that the candidate that's outselling is an indication of who's going to win the election."

This election year, costume shops are declaring an early victory
Sept 28, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Many Americans may be cringing at this year's unconventional, contentious election season, but some merchants have spotted a silver lining: It's good for business. Specifically, the costume business.

Election years are always a boon for Halloween sales, but this year's candidates are unusually promising, said Courtland Hickey, general manager of Chicago Costume, which has year-round stores in the Wrightwood Neighbors and Old Irving Park neighborhoods.

"Trump is the most costume-marketable candidate in history," Hickey said. "If people were going to imitate Mitt Romney, he didn't have that much flavor. But there are easily a dozen marketable products for Trump."

Political costumes aren't generally hot sellers, and Chicago Costume was caught a bit flat-footed by the demand for Donald Trump masks last year.

"A lot of people thought (his candidacy) was a joke, so there wasn't a lot of merchandise," Hickey said.

But this year, Halloween and costume shops are ready with extra election-themed accessories.

Chicago Costume's website lists four Trump masks, including a $29.99 "Billionaire Buffoon — Tanned" option and four Trump wigs. For those dressing as Hillary Clinton, there are two mask and wig options. Chicago Costume also carries "Make America Great Again" hats, tanning products and miniature false hands.

Each Spirit Halloween pop-up store will have a "Making Halloween Great Again" section with its election merchandise. In addition to the usual paper and latex masks, Spirit added new oversized foam masks that give wearers a "bobblehead effect," said spokeswoman Trisha Lombardo, and offer a choice of expression, including a yelling Trump, smirking Trump, or wide-eyed and open-mouthed Clinton. Also new this year is toilet paper with a candidate's face on each square.

Even in an election year, there will be far more Batmen and witches than Donalds and Hillarys. About 4 percent of adults over 35 plan to wear a political costume this Halloween, the third most popular costume for older adults, behind witches and pirates, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.

But Hickey said that might underestimate sales, since many customers buy the items as a gag, not their real Halloween costume.

Others buy them for election-themed Halloween lawn displays, said Cathy Bunger, manager at Fantasy Costumes in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood. She's also been selling Clinton, Trump and Bernie Sanders masks and wigs to people attending costume parties or filming election spoof YouTube videos all summer, she said.

Overall, Americans plan to spend about $8.4 billion on Halloween, up from $6.9 billion last year, with those buying costumes expecting to spend about $46 on average, according to the retail federation's survey. Spirit will be opening more than 1,200 seasonal stores in the U.S. and Canada, up from 1,165 last year, Lombardo said. Chicago Costume also has three pop-up stores — fewer than in some years, as it's hard to find good locations at affordable rents, Hickey said.

Both Spirit and Fantasy Costumes will be keeping a close eye on mask sales, which the retailers claim is a surprisingly accurate election statistic.

Since 1996, the candidate who led Spirit's "Presidential Mask Index" by selling the most masks goes on to win the election, according to Lombardo.

"This year is such a different election, a lot more eventful than usual, so we are eager to track the progress of mask sales," she said.

At Fantasy Costumes, the candidate whose mask sells out first also tends to go on to victory, Bunger said.

"I couldn't tell you who's up now because we haven't done an inventory count," she said. "But we have plenty, and we're ready for the season."

At Chicago Costume, Hickey was more skeptical of mask sales as a predictor of election results, noting George W. Bush masks also were popular even in blue state Illinois. "He was not getting the purchases because people liked him. I do think most people are making fun of the characters they're buying, and I wouldn't say that necessarily translates into votes."

Even as she stocks up for "the strangest election ever," Bunger said Fantasy Costumes employees avoid taking sides to avoid offending customers.

"I'll sell them anything," she said. "We try not to talk too much politics here."

Grown-ups’ new schemes to ruin Halloween
October 30, 2016
By Lenore Skenazy, New York Post

Can we please try to remember that Halloween is a holiday and not the invasion of Normandy?

The way parents are told to prepare for the festive event, you’d think that only half the kids will ever make it home --and none with their teeth. From Facebook to mommy blogs to notes home from skittish schools, experts are gravely weighing in on what your child should eat and wear and how, with a lot of luck and a fistful of glowsticks, your sweet little moving target just might survive this night of neighbor-greeting and sub-optimal nutrition.

"If it is OK for your child to eat any candy that you approve of, have them . . . eat the candy quickly in one sitting to decrease the amount of time it is in contact with the teeth."

Well doesn’t that sound jolly? That’s a tip from the Mitchell Dental Spa in Chicago.

Nutrition expert Budge Collinson put out a press release suggesting that parents choose a neighborhood for their kids to trick- or-treat in where the houses are far apart.

Why? "More walking and less candy gathering." Yes, you’re actually supposed to worry about the steps/calorie ratio, as if your kid is one fun-size Snickers away from bariatric surgery.

And that’s just the food fears — fears that one snack company suggests parents assuage by first filling their kids up on Healthy Warrior Chia Bars, with "twice the fiber of bran flakes." Because nothings says Happy Halloween quite like regularity.

Then there are the fretful letters home from school principals. This year, many are asking parents not to dress their kids as clowns — because clowns are the new Freddy Kruegers — while some are requesting no masks or costumes at all. One friend told me her kids’ school now gives them the next day off, so they can recover from their sugar rush.

And then there’s what to call the day. Up in Canada, several schools now call it "Black and Orange Day." But right here in Brooklyn, a couple of public schools are calling it "Character Day."

Consumed with concern, some communities across the country are also pushing "Trunk-or-Treat," whereby a bunch of cars form a circle in a parking lot, propping open their trunks filled with goodies. This may seem efficient — if you think Halloween is only about maximum candy collection. But until now it has been so much more.

Really, it’s the one day of the year we let our kids practice being adults. They dress up like adults, head out into the world like adults, even "work" like adults, cold-calling strangers and getting paid in candy.

Now even this nanoparticle of kiddie freedom has been replaced by yet another supervised, adult-organized activity. It’s like replacing tree-climbing with riding the escalator with mom. Yes, the kid is still going up!

But it’s just not the same thing.

Despite our fears, no child has ever been poisoned by a stranger’s candy on Halloween. As for predators, a team of researchers led by Elizabeth Letourneau, now director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School, looked at child-sex-crime stats both before and after local laws forced sex offenders to turn out their lights on Halloween. Her conclusion: "There’s just no increase in sex offenses on that day."

These happy facts go unnoticed as clinics offer to X-ray children’s candy, and towns require registrants to sit at the police station house during the holiday. And meantime, the advice industry just can’t stop itself.

"A super-long gown may be adorable but it can also cause a fall . . . Likewise, keep sleeve lengths short," warned one Halloween Web site.

Yes, we’ve managed to turn long sleeves into a life-threatening no-no. The popular mommy blog "She Knows" tells parents to case their trick-or-treat route in advance to make sure there are no "broken sidewalks." Because how could any child possibly deal with a hazard like that? Another site admonished parents not to let their children use real swords as props, not even if they beg.

Aw gee. Why not?

If you really want to keep your trick-or-treaters safe, teach them to look both ways before crossing the street — the one real danger of the night is cars. Then slap on some reflective tape and send the kids out. This isn’t the Zombie Apocalypse. That’s Nov. 8.

The most popular Halloween candy in every state
October 30, 2016
By Leanna Garfield, Business Insider

The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is the most popular Halloween candy in the US this year, while Idaho residents are partial to Butterfingers.

That's according to a survey by Influenster, a website that hosts product reviews. The company recently asked 40,000 people across the country for their favorite Halloween candy, and then found the ones with the most votes according to each state.

  • Alabama — Airheads
  • Alaska — Snickers
  • Arizona — Toblerone
  • Arkansas — Skittles
  • California — Lifesavers
  • Colorado — Milky Way
  • Connecticut — Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • Delaware — 3 Musketeers
  • Florida — Nestlé Crunch Bar
  • Georgia — Pixy Stix
  • Hawaii — 100 Grand Bar
  • Idaho — Butterfinger
  • Illinois — Snickers
  • Indiana — Reese's Pieces
  • Iowa — Twix
  • Kansas — Twizzlers
  • James Lee/Flickr
  • Kentucky — Whoppers
  • Louisiana — Swedish Fish
  • Maine — Starburst
  • Maryland — Almond Joy
  • Massachusetts — Starburst
  • Michigan — M&M's
  • Minnesota — 100 Grand Bar
  • Mississippi — Hershey's Kisses
  • Missouri — Hershey's Kisses
  • Montana — Kit Kat Bar
  • Nebraska — Skittles
  • Nevada — Jolly Ranchers
  • New Hampshire — Tootsie Rolls
  • New Jersey — Sour Patch Kids
  • New Mexico — 3 Musketeers
  • New York — Sweet Tarts
  • North Carolina — Butterfinger
  • North Dakota — Sour Patch Kids
  • Ohio — Milky Way
  • Oklahoma — M&M's
  • Oregon — Candy Corn
  • Pennsylvania — Swedish Fish
  • Rhode Island — Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • South Carolina — Candy Corn
  • South Dakota — Laffy Taffy
  • Tennessee — Candy Corn
  • Texas — Candy Corn
  • Utah — Nerds
  • Vermont — Almond Joy
  • Virginia — Reese's Pieces
  • Washington — AirHeads
  • Washington DC — Twix
  • West Virginia — Oreos
  • Wisconsin — Laffy Taffy
  • Wyoming — Candy Corn