The Washington Post

It’s scary what the government can do with survey data

Forty-one million potential trick-or-treaters between the ages of 5 and 14 in the United States. One-hundred-fifteen million occupied homes that could serve as potential stops for those kids on Thursday.

When it comes to Halloween, no one dishes out data treats like the U.S. Census Bureau. The agency has compiled a list of statistics and other fun facts relating to the October holiday in keeping with its regular showcasing of detailed survey numbers around the time of national observances.

Saint Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum in Flint, Mich., where paintballers can shoot zombies like this one. (AP Photo/ Saint Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum) Saint Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum in Flint, Mich., where paintballers can shoot zombies like this one. (AP Photo/ Saint Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum)

Four-hundred-forty manufacturing establishments produced non-chocolate confectionary products in 2011, another 1,148 made chocolate and cocoa items, and nearly 48,000 acres of agricultural land were used for harvesting pumpkins in 2012 — Illinois led the nation by producing an estimated 556 million pounds of orange gourd.

Costume and formal wear establishments numbered 1,197 in 2011, and Halloween moviegoers may have caught a horror flick at any one of 4,575 motion picture theaters that year. During the same timeframe, more than 93 percent of households considered their neighborhoods safe, meaning they probably made for good trick-or-treat areas.

Feel like visiting a town with a spooky sounding name this Halloween? Try Sleepy Hollow, Ill., Tombstone, Ariz., Casper, Wyo., or Kill Devil Hills, N.C., all of which the Census Bureau details in its American FactFinder database.

Other numbers-oriented federal agencies have found similar ways to package data based on holiday themes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, produces annual Thanksgiving reports focusing on the winter holidays — the price of turkey, holiday shopping numbers and volunteer work.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook, or Google+. Visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
Quoted
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.