Looking Back Oct. 28, 2012

History column

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

Halloween is once again upon us. Here is a look at a variety of items assorted with the ghoulish celebration.

Scaring up candy

• Halloween candy sales average about $2 billion annually in the United States and it is the largest candy-purchasing holiday.

• When surveyed, 90 percent of parents admit to sneaking goodies from their kids’ Halloween trick-or-treat bags.

• More than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. That equates to nearly 9 billion pieces — enough to encircle the moon nearly four times if laid end-to-end.

• Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers at No. 1.

• Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.

• NECCO (New England Confectionery Company) is considered the oldest operating candy manufacturer in America. The company can be traced back to 1847. In addition to the company’s trademark wafers, other products include the Mary Jane, Clark Bar and Squirrel Nut.

Did you know?

• The common little brown bat of North America has the longest life span for a mammal its size, averaging 32 years.

• The Ouija Board ended up outselling the game of Monopoly in its first full year. More than 2 million copies of the Ouija Board were shipped.

• When Bela Lugosi died in 1956, he was buried wearing the black silk cape he wore in “Dracula” (1931).

• There really are so-called vampire bats, but they’re not from Transylvania. They live in Central and South America and feed on the blood of cattle, horses and birds.

• Halloween originated as Samhain, the Celtic festival marking the end of the summer. The Celtics were the first to wear masks at this time — to trick evil spirits.

• Shooting for “The Wolf Man,” starring Lon Chaney, lasted from Oct. 27-Nov. 25, 1941, with a Dec. 12 release.

• The first citywide Halloween celebration in America took place in Anoka, Minn., in 1921.

• A pumpkin is 90 percent water.

• The 1931 “Frankenstein” movie was banned in Kansas upon its original release on the grounds that it exhibited “cruelty and tended to debase morals.”

• A Dutch witch in 2005 won her case to allow her to declare her broomsticks and spell-casting lessons as tax deductible.

• Singer/songwriter Rod Stewart was a grave digger before starting his musical career.

• Halloween ranks second behind Christmas as the most commercial holiday in the nation.

• Michael Landon was born on Halloween, 1936.

• Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

• An original poster from the 1932 movie “The Mummy” once sold at auction for $453,500.

Believe it or not ...

• If you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved one watching over you.

• If the flame of a candle flickers and then turns blue, there’s a spirit in the room.

• If you want to see a witch, put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards.

• On Halloween night, owls will swoop down and feast on the souls of the dying. To protect yourself from hungry owls, turn your pockets out and leave them hanging.

• To protect your home from evil spirits on Halloween, bury animal bones in your front yard. If you have no bones, sprinkle salt across each entryway into your home to keep the evil spirits away.

• A person born on Halloween has the ability to see and talk to spirits.

• The Los Angeles Pet Cemetery in California is where a lot of celebrity pets are buried. There have been many ghost sightings there, but most notably of Kabar, the Great Dane. He died in 1928 and was the dog of Rudolph Valentino.

Haunting tunes ...

Fans of music and Halloween, here is a quiz for you.

  1. Who recorded “Creatures of the Night”?
  2. “Black Magic Woman” was written by whom?
  3. What San Francisco band claims, “I Put a Spell on You”?
  4. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was a song by what band?
  5. Who gave us “The Legend of Wooley Swamp”?
  6. Who wrote and recorded “Voodoo Child”?
  7. Which artist claimed, “You’re the devil in disguise”?
  8. What song has the line: “But terror takes the sound before you make it”?
  9. Which band gave us the song “Spooky”?
  10. Who wrote the song “Zombie Stomp”?
  11. Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett released what single that reached the top of the charts on Oct. 20, 1962?
  12. What song has these lyrics? “If you hear him howling around your kitchen door/Better not let him in/Little old lady got mutilated late last night ...”
  13. Who composed the music for “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”?
  14. In Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater,” why did the creature come to Earth?
  15. Ray Parker Jr. recorded the theme song for which movie starring Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray?


  1. KISS
  2. Santana
  3. Creedence Clearwater Revival
  4. Blue Oyster Cult
  5. Charlie Daniels
  6. Jimi Hendrix
  7. Elvis Presley
  8. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
  9. Atlanta Rhythm Section
  10. Ozzy Osbourne
  11. “Monster Mash”
  12. “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon
  13. Vince Guaraldi
  14. “I wanna get a job in a rock ‘n roll band”
  15. “Ghostbusters”