Where Halloween Comes From
Chicago, Ill.: Tootsie Roll Industries
Growing up, Halloween really boils down to one event: trick-or-treating. And without the candies made by the Chicago-based Tootsie Roll Industries, treat bags would be a lot less festive – and sugar-coated. It's hard to imagine Halloween without a hearty helping of Dots, Dubble Bubble, Blow Pops, Junior Mints and of course, Tootsie Rolls (and Tootsie Roll Pops). Tootsie Roll Industries manufactures their candies throughout North America, though most are made in the U.S.A.
Morton, Ill.: Pumpkin Capital of the World
Known as the "Pumpkin Capital of the World," the burg of Morton is deep in the heart of central Illinois, where America's most prolific pumpkin patches are rooted. The home of Libby's Pumpkin, Morton produces about 85 percent of packaged pumpkin in the U.S., but it's also good for gourds. The Morton Pumpkin Festival is a huge regional event each fall, complete with "Punkin Chuckin'," where engineers and other intrepid designers square off to see who can create the meanest pumpkin chucking machine.
Pella, Iowa: Heritage Lace
It may sound like it's only for tea parties and tapestries, but Heritage Lace, which is headquartered in Pella, Iowa, doesn't stop with the fancy and frilly. For haunting Halloween decor, look no further than this heartland company's handiwork. When Halloween rolls around, traditional dainty doilies give way to spooky spiderwebs, creepy witch-silhouette shades, and pumpkin patch placemats to spice up your fall festivities.
Carlisle, Pa.: Meadowbrooke Gourds
Halloween isn't all about the gooey and the gory, of course – it's about the gourds, too! And the central Pennsylvania company Meadowbrooke Gourds is happy to help you carve out some cute in Halloween with their exquisitely crafted and carved designs. The largest maker of hand-crafted gourds in the world, Meadowbrooke grows all its product on-site at its farm in Carlisle, Penn., and all the design is done on-site by the same group of artisans. If you're not near enough to visit, don't be afraid: Meadowbrooke Gourds sells its wares in specialty shops all around the nation.
Leominster, Mass.: Funlight® Glow Sticks
There's something about that satisfying first crack of a glow stick – the neon-bright glow-in-the-dark tubes keep trick-or-treaters visible and are just really fun to swing around and make swirly colors in the night. Thanks to the town of Leominster, Mass., kids across the country can keep cracking and shaking their glow sticks this fall. Northern Products manufactures their Funlight® line in this New England town, keeping our Halloween parties filled with a funky neon luminescence.