Wednesday is Halloween, a festival that originated around 5 B.C. in present-day Ireland as a pagan celebration. The celebration has become more commercial than spiritual, and consumers continue to spend more and more money on Halloween-related merchandise each year — a sign that the Halloween spirit is still present today.
Percentage of Americans expected to celebrate this year: 64
Combined weight in pounds of jack-o’-lanterns and pies sold last year: 1.1 billion
Amount of money spent on Halloween in 1996: $2.13 billion
Amount of money spent on Halloween in 2006: $4.96 billion
Expected number of trick-or-treaters this year: 36.1 million