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Some believe a warm-hearted greeting of “Happy Halloween!” is best done verbally on the day itself, at the front door, while dropping candy into the plastic pumpkin buckets of vibrating, pint-sized trick-or-treaters.

And while it’s always a good idea to acknowledge the hordes at your door on Halloween, it’s hardly necessary. Kids are on a costumed mission. As long as you’re handing out Kit Kats, Skittles, Peanut Butter Cups or other like candies, you could mumble shout “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” and they wouldn’t care, so focused are the mobs of masked munchkins racing through our neighborhood. So many houses. So little time.

Trick-or-treater

Kids on a masked mission race about in a blur on Halloween.

If the holiday’s front line doesn’t work, how should you cheerfully welcome friends and family to these festive times, whose roots stretch back more than a thousand years when ancient peoples celebrated the end of the harvest season?

The best well wishing, of course, is through a greeting card which allows you to ring in the holiday the way it was meant to be: with a groan.

And that’s exactly what the pun-heavy cards my wife and I mail out each year induce.

I am a true believer in the power of the pun, giggling aloud as I scribble homemade jokes inside the Snoopy-as-Vampire Halloween cards we send.

Here’s a sample:

“What kind of vehicle does Frankenstein drive?”

“A Monster Truck!”

Frankenstein's monster

Frankenstein is excited to drive his monster truck. 

The scary thing is, that might be our best Halloween joke. Other puns run the gamut from the obvious …

“Where does Dracula keep his money?”

In a Blood Bank.” (Even my co-workers guessed that one).

To the sublime . . .

“What does a health-conscious Zombie eat?”

“Grains.”

We don’t send out a lot of Halloween cards, mostly because we don’t want our house toilet-papered or the target of drive-by egging by groan-intolerant recipients. But it is our favorite greeting-card holiday, and it turns out we’re not alone.

Vintage Halloween Card

An early Halloween card from the 1920s.

The first Halloween cards in the U.S. were produced in 1908, according to Hallmark, who made its first Halloween cards in the 1920s. Today, Americans send out about 20 million Halloween cards a year, making Halloween seventh among top greeting card occasions (after Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and graduation).

Halloween is the second-biggest home-decorating holiday, after the King Kong of holidays, Christmas. Add in candy, decorations, party favors and digital downloads of the song “Monster Mash,” and consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.4 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Halloween is the third largest party day in the U.S. behind New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday. We love it so much even our pets get into the act. The top Halloween costumes for our pets this year are pumpkin, hot dog, bumblebee and lion.

All of which has me wondering…

What does a skeleton order at a restaurant?

Spare ribs, of course.

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