Halloween Facts

Don’t be scared, but Halloween is right around the corner. Have you purchased any treats yet? Once again, I’ve recently bought a few bags of candy, but have already dipped into them. I must gain control of myself! LOL.

What about you? Have you bought anything for Halloween yet? If so, what? And what’s your own personal favorite Halloween treat? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Anyway, we love our trivia – especially holiday trivia – here on the NCP Blog, so let’s get to it!

These interesting facts are from womansday.com:

  • Which six states produce a majority of the holiday’s pumpkins? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2014 the top pumpkin-producing states – Illinois, California, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – produced 1.31 billion pounds of pumpkins. (We went pumpkin picking this past weekend and bought a lot. I think we alone bought a million pounds!)
  • Where did the Jack-O-Lantern phrase come from? The name Jack-O-Lantern first originated from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack who tricked the Devil over and over again. When Jack died, he was forced to walk the Earth with only a carved-out turnip and burning coal to help light his way.
  • Who started the black cat superstition? The superstition that it’s bad luck for a black cat to cross your path comes from the Protestant beliefs of the Pilgrims. They disapproved of anything associated with witchcraft, and some believed the legend that witches could transform into black cats and back.
  • What were the top candies of 2017? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were the most popular Halloween candy, while other favs included Snickers, Twix, Kit Kat, Nerds, Sour Patch Kids, and Skittles. (Those are some of my favorites, too! What about you?)
  • How much do parents spend on Halloween? In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 41 million trick-or-treaters ages 5 to 14 in America. Parents spent an estimated $1 billion on children’s costumes combined. By 2014, that number nearly tripled. And according to the National Retail Federation, Halloween party-goers spent an estimated $2.8 billion on costumes overall.
  • What is one of the holiday’s most-produced candies? It’s candy corn! Since its invention in 1898 by the Herman Goelitz Confectionary Company of Fairfield, California (now known as the Jelly Belly Candy Company), candy corn has become very popular — so much so that today, nearly 35 million pounds of the stuff is produced each year.
  • How big a consumer holiday is Halloween? Halloween is a big business. So big, in fact, that it’s the second-largest commercial holiday in America, with Christmas being the only one to surpass it in sales. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent $5.8 billion on Halloween in 2010, and by 2015, that figure jumped to nearly $7 billion.
  • How much do Americans spend on Halloween? According to the National Retail Federation, 64% of Americans celebrated the holiday in 2015, and they spent an average of $74.34 per (adult) person on candy, costumes, and decor. (I know we also spend a lot.)

Have a great weekend, and also a great Halloween!

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NCP Sweepstakes – Send Us Your Shopping Info And You’re In!

Like almost everyone else in the country, I’m playing the lottery this week. After all, the current Mega Millions drawing is estimated to be $970 million. And the current Powerball jackpot will be worth an estimated $430 million.

Unfortunately, the odds of winning Mega Millions were 302,575,350 to 1 as of Thursday, according to USA Today.

Now I know the odds are long, but I keep telling myself I’ll be the lucky one. LOL!

If you want a better chance of winning something, just be a regular participant on the panel!

NCP has an amazing variety of sweepstakes, which are awarded weekly, monthly, and quarterly, and yearly.

Best of all, participation in these sweepstakes is easy: As long as we receive your weekly transmissions, you’re automatically entered into the following sweepstakes:

  • $25 Weekly Sweepstakes (50 winners)
  • $200 Monthly Sweepstakes (30 winners)
  • $20,000 Cash Giveaway (1 winner per quarter)
  • $500 Super Scanner Sweepstakes (20 winners per quarter)
  • $500 Panelists of the Year Sweepstakes (10 winners per year)

In addition, the Pick n’ Win sweepstakes is NCP’s exciting monthly contest where you’re in control. Each month we feature drawings for an array of amazing prizes. Use your reward points to give yourself an entry into a drawing. Enter as many contests as you want as many times as you want! (Note: The points you apply toward a prize are not credited back if you don’t win that prize.)

For more details, visit our Pick n’ Win Page.

Well, good luck to everyone who’s playing the lotteries. And let me know if you’ve ever won something in the lottery.

Have a great – and lucky – weekend!

Not an NCP member yet? Sign up at join.ncponline.com.

It’s Cyber Security Month

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to think about staying safe and more secure online. (The National Cyber Security Awareness Month, now in its 15th year, was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance.)

As previously posted, a few months ago I was the victim a scam, whereby someone was trying to get into my bank account. So I now take security very seriously, and you should, too!

Here are some tips from mcafee.com to help you stay secure:

  • Create complex passwords. Creating strong, unique passwords for your accounts is the best way to keep your personal and financial information safe. You can use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.
  • Boost your network security. Make sure that your connections are secure; use a password-protected router that encrypts your data. Be careful using free, public Wi-Fi, which is often unsecured.
  • Use a firewall. Even if your network is secure, you should still use a firewall. This an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and devices, and is often included with comprehensive security software. Using a firewall ensures that all of the devices connected to your network are secured, including devices like smart thermostats and webcams.
  • Click smart. Don’t invite danger with careless clicking. Many of today’s online threats are based on trying to trick you into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. (I sure know about this now!)
  • Be a selective sharer. Be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information.
  • Protect your mobile life. Mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores.
  • Practice safe surfing and shopping. When shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the website’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by others.

You may want to take this opportunity to change your NCP website log on info. Remember, last year NCP strengthened a number of our security policies, including asking all of our panel members to change their passwords. As part of the update process, panel member passwords had to:

  • be different from your old password
  • be a minimum of 8 characters long (maximum of 64 characters)
  • include at least one number: 0-9
  • include at least one letter: a-z
  • include at least one special character listed here: !@#$%^&*._-

Thank you, and have a safe and secure weekend!

Not an NCP member yet?Sign up at join.ncponline.com.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Now that we’re a few weeks into autumn, it’s time to start thinking about all the fall home maintenance tasks that should be done before winter begins – and with the way time zips along, the cold and darkness will be here soon enough! My husband and I like to get an early start on our fall chores, since there’s so much to do.

So here’s a checklist from forbes.com that you might find helpful:

(Note: I know many readers may live in warm climates or may not live in a house, but hopefully there are useful things mentioned here that you can do to maintain your living space.)

  • Care for trees and shrubs.
  • Rake leaves, so the leaves on a lawn over winter don’t inhibit spring growth.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Make exterior repairs. Look for any signs of damage on the roof, siding, and foundation.
  • Seal gaps so cold and critters don’t enter.
  • Check walkways, railings, stairs and the driveway for winter safety.
  • Stock up on winter supplies.
    • Check the condition of snow shovels and ice scrapers; replace as needed.
    • Pick up a bag of pet- and plant-safe ice melt, if needed.
    • Restock emergency kits for car and home.
    • If you use a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel.
  • Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses so the freezing temperatures don’t damage anything.
  • Add weatherstripping around the frames of windows and doors to keep the house warmer and to cut energy costs.
  • Check safety devices.
    • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed.
    • Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.

And a few others – which my husband is big on doing! – from houselogic.com:

  • Clean and stow your lawn mower.
  • Remove garden hoses from faucets so the hoses don’t freeze.
  • Drain your sprinkler system.

Along with doing those fall chores, one other thing is very, very important: Don’t forget to record your fall-related purchases! So if you buy a rake, record it! If you buy gas stabilizer to winterize your lawn mower, scan it! You get the picture …

Have a great weekend! Let me know if you have any fall maintenance tips and tricks. I’d love to hear all about them.

Not an NCP member yet? Join the fun by signing up at join.ncponline.com!