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Profile America — Friday, October 31st. There's an excellent chance that today is an occasion deeply revered by young children and the nation's candy makers. According to ancient Celtic tradition, Halloween -- the evening before All Saints Day -- is a time of haunting by ghosts. Halloween has come a long way from pagan practices to "trick or treat!" Today's prank and costume-filled observance goes back about a century in the U.K., and giving the disguised young visitors to the doorstep some candies has been a major part of the ritual. This in an important boost to the nation's nearly 72,000 retailers with candy displays, including more than 3,300 confectionary and nut stores. Candy sales amount to about $5.5 billion annually. You can find more facts about America's people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at http://www.census.gov.
Halloween story: http://www.history.com/topics/halloween
2007 Economic Census data on candymakers: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_44SLLS1&prodType=table NAICS 20109