If you’re answering the door for trick-or-treaters tonight, you’d better have plenty of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in your bowl. That’s Washington state’s favorite Halloween candy, according to multiple surveys.

Reese’s cups were the clear winner of our 2014 Halloween candy bracket, which sparked much debate at the time among readers and in the newsroom (candy corn: amazing or abomination?).

They also came out on top in a more recent analysis by Bid on Equipment, which used a Google platform to analyze search volume trends for more than 100 different types of candy from September through October 2018 in all 50 states and the 20 largest cities in the country.

Halloween as we know it today descended from Celtic and Christian traditions. The Celtic festival Samhain marked the end of summer, when it was believed that the barrier between the living world and the spirit world was thinnest. The word “Halloween” comes from “All Hallow’s Eve,” or the night before All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1 (a “hallow” is a holy person). In both cases, the date marked a time to focus on the spirits of those who have departed — either to honor them or ward them off or both.

To mark this haunting holiday, we looked at some recent surveys to learn how people prefer to celebrate Halloween.

In addition to ranking candies, Bid on Equipment polled more than 2,000 people this year — 40% of whom reported having children who trick-or-treat — about their opinions on trick-or-treating and whether Halloween ought to be celebrated on a weekend rather than whenever Oct. 31 falls.


Respondents said the ideal trick-or-treating hours are 6-9 p.m., and trick-or-treaters ought to gracefully age out of the tradition at about 15 years old. Parents surveyed said they spend about $35 on candy, and the majority of those surveyed said they preferred to stay home and hand out candy rather than leave it in a bowl at the door.

Nearly 48% of respondents said they don’t mind staying up late for a weekday celebration of the holiday, while 52% said they’d like to see it moved to the last Saturday of the month.

The idea of moving Halloween to a Saturday has recently gained some steam after a study purported to show an 83% spike in deadly crashes involving children and a 55% increase in pedestrian fatal crashes on weekday Halloween, according to an article by the consumer website autoinsurance.org. The insurance comparison site reported that 149,000 Americans have signed a petition to change Halloween to the last Saturday of the month.

One more insight into our Halloween habits: An analysis of search data shows Washington’s favorite movie villain — or rather, the one we Google the most — is the extraterrestrial from the movie “Alien.” That’s true for only two other states: Alaska and Kansas.

Stephen King characters dominate most states’ searches: Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining,” Jack Torrance, is the most searched horror-movie character in the greatest number of states, followed by Pennywise from “It.”