Thursday, November 1, 2007


Okay, so I'm a nerd. Worse, I'm an engineer. And as an engineer, I'm fascinated by statistics, and keep them on all sorts of things. My wife laughs at me all the time that I actually track in an Excel spreadsheet the gas mileage of my "new" (2004) Honda Civic, including average miles driven per day (there is a correlation!).

Anyway, so last night I thought it would be fun to keep track of how many trick-or-treaters came to our house and what they were wearing. What I found was that the most popular costume for young girls was either a princess or a fairy costume. For young boys it's generally a superhero or other themed costume. For teenagers, I noticed that they take the minimalist approach and just come with scruffy clothes that may or may not be torn with a touch of gray or red makeup on their faces.

Here's a chart that outlines the number of people who came to the door in each of ten minute increments. You can see that the average peak (the black line is a parabolic curve fit to the data) was somewhere around 7:30, but we had surges both earlier and later. We had a total of 121 trick-or-treaters come to the door, with probably an equal number of parents and friends of parents who stood back. It was quite busy!

The full list is here. Sometimes we just couldn't keep up with all the costumes, so we just enumerated the number of people who raised their bags before us. (Okay, I'll be honest -- I did most of the tallying while my wife was taking our two older children around the neighborhood ... and they came home with way too much candy!)

6:15 - clown, cowboy
6:30 - Woody, tiger
6:35 - clown
6:55 - Spiderman, Princess Leia, 3 teenagers
7:00 - witch, 2 princesses, 3 teenagers
7:02 - girl army dude, gangster
7:05 - 8
7:10 - 11
7:20 - soldier girl
7:24 - guy with Afro hair, skeleton
7:27 - Supergirl, sports fan, ballerina
7:28 - princess, ghoul
7:29 - Batman
7:30 - Darth Vader, princess, fairy, 2 others
7:34 - witch, fireman, Supergirl, Buzz Lightyear, 2 others
7:38 - 11
7:40 - 6 scruffy teenagers
7:41 - bumblebee, Donald Duck
7:45 - 3 teenagers, 1 princess, 2 others
7:46 - 2 princesses, 1 other, 2 adults who traded me a business card (for house cleaning services) for the candy
7:56 - Venom, bumblebee, dancer, hockey victim
8:02 - pirate, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, soccer victim
8:15 - 2 teenagers
8:16 - 2 witches, ghoul, dead guy
8:17 - mouse
8:19 - 11
8:37 - dinosaur, Batman, Venom
8:38 - 4 teenage girls

All in all, it was a really fun evening. The kids had a great time, stayed up late, and went to bed exhausted, with dreams of consuming mass amounts of sugar in their heads. School is wisely cancelled today, so I have no doubt they will consume far too much candy and make themselves sick today ... it will be a good lesson!

Happy Halloween!


Melissa said...

I thought Jacob was bad with his spreadsheets, but you take the cake!

Angel said...

Babe, I love you, but sometimes you can be a really big nerd... (However, as nerdy as it is, it's actually pretty interesting).

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