Shopping For Halloween

I don’t know about you, but I’ve already picked up some treats for the children who’ll be Trick or Treating on Halloween. I bought a variety of candies, mostly things that I love but try to limit eating during the rest of the year (I try so hard to be good!)

But I was curious what non-candy items other people may be giving out for this holiday.

According to, some people have been known to hand out toothbrushes and floss(!!), and informational pamphlets. Yeah, if I were a kid, I’d definitely be skipping those houses.

Other non-candy treat alternatives include stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, mini note pads, glow necklaces, vampire teeth, and bookmarks. Those sound a lot more fun than dental floss!

What are you planning to hand out for Halloween? Take our survey below!

Powered by Vovici: Publish your own web survey today

Oh, and don’t forget to scan everything you purchase for Halloween. We really want to know about what candy and other Halloween-related items you purchase for this holiday.

Thanks, and have a great day!

Pumpkin Picking, Corn Mazes, And Halloween Decorating: What A Week!

So this week we went to a local farm and did some pumpkin picking. The kids really enjoyed it! While we were at the farm, we watched a pumpkin carving demonstration and got some great ideas for how to carve our own pumpkins.

My husband and I really enjoyed the corn maze they had at the farm. It was quite a challenge getting through it!

Speaking of corn mazes, I did a little research, and found a list of some really cool ones throughout the country. (Thanks to for the great info!)

  • The Farmstead Corn Maze & Pumpkin Festival, Meridian, ID
  • Great Vermont Corn Maze, Danville, VT
  • McCall’s Pumpkin Patch, Moriarty, NM
  • Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, Lancaster, PA
  • Frederica Mesa Farm Fall Festival, Avondale, CO
  • Scott’s Maze, Mt. Dora, FL
  • Sever’s Corn Maze & Fall Festival, Twin Cities, MN
  • Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, Lodi, WI
  • Cool Patch Pumpkins, Dixon, CA
  • Connors Farm, Danvers, MA

We also started decorating the house. I looked around for some new ideas for making the house extra creepy. Here are a few that we’re going to try (I found these on

  • Board Up Your Windows
  • Cheesecloth Lawn Ghosts
  • Front Door Flies – Attach fake plastic flies or other creepy insects around your front door handle.
  • Glowing Eyes – Cut the eye shapes out of the side of the cardboard tube, insert glow sticks into the tube, and duct tape up the ends.
  • “Hand”y Hallway – Find some hand props and mount them to your hallway walls for a spooky walk down the hall.

Let me know about any great corn mazes you’ve seen, or how you’re decorating your house.

Have a great day!

Pumpkin Patch

It’s Fall Festival Time

Please note: On behalf of all of us at the National Consumer Panel, we hope that everyone in Hurricane Matthew’s path has taken precautions so that they’re safe from the storm. Our thoughts are with you.

Last week, my family went to an apple festival, which is a fun thing to do this time of year in our area of the country. We all went on a hay ride, and the kids enjoyed a pony ride and playing in a bounce house. (Honestly, I would have loved to join them in the bounce house. It looked like fun!)

Then, if that wasn’t enough, we ate, and ate, and ate some more! One of the other great things about fall festivals is all the great food out there, such as apple pies, candied and caramel apples, and jams. It was a real treat!

Next week we’re going pumpkin picking and then we’ll finish decorating the house. Also, I want to get to a few Oktoberfests in our area. No doubt my husband and I will indulge with some adult beverages!

Since it seems that almost every city and town has its own fall festival, I wondered what other festivals were going on in other parts of the country. Here are just a few well-known festivals, according to

  • Autumn at the Arboretum, Dallas, TX, now through November 23
  • Circleville Pumpkin Show, Circleville, OH, October 19-22
  • Country Living Fair, Stone Mountain Park, GA, October 21-23
  • Cranberry Harvest Fest, Wareham, MA, October 8-9
  • Fall Back Beer Fest, Estes Park, CO, November 5
  • Fall for Greenville, Greenville, SC, October 14-16
  • Hood River Valley Harvest Fest, Hood River, OR, October 14-16
  • Madison County Covered Bridge Festival, Winterset, IA, October 8-9
  • National Apple Harvest Festival, Arendtsville, PA, October 8-9
  • North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival, Whiteville, NC, November 5
  • Scarecrow Festival, St. Charles, IL, October 7-9
  • Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Sun Valley, Ketchum, and Hailey, ID, October 5

I’m sure they are plenty of festivals in your area of the country. Let me know which ones are your favorites!

Have a nice day.

Will You Be Watching The First Presidential Debate?

Regardless of how you feel about either of the major party presidential nominees, you have to say that things have certainly gotten very interesting.

Speaking of which, the first presidential debate will be held Monday, September 26, at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY (my alma mater!), and you can guarantee that a whole lot of people will be tuning in to watch.

Presidential debates usually draw a large viewing audience. According to The Nielsen Company, these are the highest-rated presidential debates:

Presidential Debates

According to Nielsen, six of the top 10 debates by household viewership numbers occurred within one of the last three election years. Of those six, President Barack Obama has appeared in five of them—and the initial debate of the 2012 election, featuring him against Mitt Romney, currently holds the top spot.

Until the 2012 election, the top spot once belonged to the historic 1980 debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. At 45.8 million households, the lone presidential debate of the 1980 election maintained the top spot for nearly 32 years, according to Nielsen.

Let’s see if this year’s debates break the record!

Have a great day.

The New Fall TV Season Is About To Begin!

I can’t wait! The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards is on Sunday, September 18, and then the following day the new TV season really kicks off!

I’ve been waiting all summer to see new episodes of my favorite shows, like The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Grey’s Anatomy.

I’m sure most of you can’t wait either, since they are a lot of TVs out there. In fact, according to The Nielsen Company, for the 2016-17 TV season there are 118.4 million TV homes in the United States. Nielsen also estimates that there are 301.7 million people age 2 and older in those TV households. That’s a lot of potential viewers.

As for NCP panelists, here are the number of TVs that members said they have in their household:

Number of TVs Percentage of NCP households
0 0.98%
1 13.7%
2 28.49%
3 26.39%
4 17.24%
5 8.21%
6 3.18%
7 1.14%
8 0.38%
9 0.29%

Let me know which shows that you are most looking forward to seeing this coming TV season.

Happy TV watching, and have a great day!

I’m Ready For Some Football!

The National Football League kicks off its 2016 season tonight. Like a lot of people, I love watching football. Despite being so busy, my family and I try to watch every week – especially our beloved Jets!

As you probably know, professional football is BIG business.

According to, the NFL’s total revenues are projected to top $13.3 billion this year, an increase of more than 50% from 2010. This is far and away the top revenue total among American sports, with baseball coming in a distant second at $9.5 billion, the National Basketball Association in third place with $4.8 billion, and the National Hockey League in fourth at $3.7 billion.

Also, take a look at the NFL’s most valuable teams. Talk about a lot of money!

  1. Dallas Cowboys: $4 billion
  2. New England Patriots, $3.2 billion
  3. Washington Redskins, $2.85 billion
  4. New York Giants, $2.8 billion
  5. San Francisco 49ers, $2.7 billion

A lot of us watch the games on TV, rather than go to the games in person. To me, it costs a lot of money to go to a game. Here are the most expensive teams to go see play (total cost includes the price of two tickets, parking, and the cost for two hot dogs, two soft drinks, and two beers), according to

  1. Washington Redskins Game at FedEx Field: $272.17
  2. San Francisco 49ers Game at Levi’s Stadium: $270.67
  3. Dallas Cowboys Game at AT&T Stadium: $268.28
  4. Chicago Bears Game at Soldier Field: $261.50
  5. Green Bay Packers Game at Lambeau Field: $260.00

Here are the least expensive teams to go see play (total cost includes the price of two tickets, parking, and the cost for two hot dogs, two soft drinks, and two beers), according to

  1. Cincinnati Bengals Game at Paul Brown Stadium: $131.93
  2. Cleveland Browns Game at FirstEnergy Stadium: $133.66
  3. Buffalo Bills Game at New Era Field (Ralph Wilson Stadium): $136.66
  4. Kansas City Chiefs Game at Arrowhead Stadium: $138.67
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars Game at EverBank Field: $141.60

I hope you’re ready for some football. Let me know which team is your favorite.

Have a great day, and settle in for the kick off!


Labor Day And The Unofficial End Of Summer

My family and I just got back last week from our vacation to Orlando, where we went to all the major amusement parks. We all had a great time, but now it’s back to work!

Speaking of work. … This Monday is Labor Day, where we pay tribute to the achievements of the American worker. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 158.5 million people age 16 and over in the nation’s labor force as of May 2016.

Since we love stats here, I have a few others I’d like to pass along, all labor related, of course!

Here are the occupations with the largest number of employees, as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:

Largest Occupations May 2015 Number of employees
Retail salespeople 4,612,510
Cashiers 3,478,420
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 3,216,460
Office clerks, general 2,944,420
Registered nurses 2,745,910
Customer service representatives 2,595,990
Waiters and waitresses 2,505,630
Laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand 2,487,680
Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive 2,281,120
Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners 2,146,880

One thing that many people complain about is their commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on average it takes 26 minutes for U.S. workers to commute to work; however, New York (32.6 minutes) and Maryland (32.3 minutes) have the most time-consuming commutes.

Labor Day also marks the end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season. So make sure to really enjoy this “last weekend” of summer!

Have a great day.

How’s Your Back-To-School Shopping Going?

Can you believe that summer is almost over? I just started back-to-school shopping – and my kids are in a state of disbelief. They can’t understand that our schools will be back in session in just a few weeks. I tell them that kids in other parts of the country are already back in school, but that doesn’t seem to make them feel any better. LOL.

The back-to-school shopping season is one of the busiest times for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for K-12 and college is expected to reach $75.8 billion this year, up about 11.5% from last year’s $68 billion.

According to the National Retail Federation, households with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36, for a total of $27.3 billion. On average, $235.39 will be spent on clothing, $204.06 on electronics, $126.35 on shoes, and $107.76 on school supplies.

Meanwhile, college students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to the National Retail Federation. On average, electronics spending will be $211.33, apparel and accessories $137.29, dorm furnishings $114.21, food $105.88, personal care items $78.03, shoes $70.39, and school supplies $64.64.

How is your back-to-school shopping going? Let me know!

I will be on vacation next week. We are taking the family to Disney World, so I won’t be posting anything on the blog. But I will have a new posting the following week.

Enjoy the last few weeks of the summer season, and I’ll talk to you soon!

Have a great day!

NCP’s Offsite Meeting News!

I just wanted to let you know the NCP team had an offsite meeting this week.  (We also went to a Mets game on Thursday!) At the meeting we brain-stormed ideas on how to better communicate with you as well as some enhancements we can add to the NCPMobile App.

It was a very productive meeting, and we’re sure it will help make your participation on the panel even better!

If you ever have any ideas you’d like to share, please let me know by going to

As for the Mets game, well, they lost 9 – 0, so that wasn’t much fun. But it was great hanging out with the NCP staff. We have a great group of people here!

Well, I know it’s very hot in our area; hopefully it’s not too bad where you live.

So stay cool, my friends!

Let The Games Begin!

Today is the first day of the Rio Summer Olympics. I can’t wait to see my favorite sports, gymnastics and swimming. It’s always a treat to see these great athletes in action!

I know many of you will also be watching the games, because they are always a big TV ratings draw. In fact, according to The Nielsen Company, these are the top 10 most watched events in U.S. television history:

  1. London Olympics (2012): 219.4 million
  2. Beijing Olympics (2008): 215 million
  3. Atlanta Olympics (1996): 209 million
  4. Lillehammer Olympics (2004): 203 million
  5. Athens Olympics (2004): 203 million
  6. Seoul Olympics (1988): 194 million
  7. Barcelona Olympics (1992): 192 million
  8. Vancouver Olympics (2010): 190 million
  9. Salt Lake City Olympics (2002): 187 million
  10. Sydney Olympics (2000): 185 million

This year’s Olympics will be hard to miss: I’ve read that the networks and digital platforms of NBCUniversal will broadcast 6,755 hours of Olympic programming. Of that, 2.084 hours will be broadcast on NBC’s various TV networks. NBC itself will broadcast 260.5 hours.

So take some time out of your busy day and make sure to root for the USA!

Have a great day.