Credit Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis
Being a comedian, Joe Marlotti is always afraid he won't get laughs. But he grows especially nervous this time of year. After all, a comedian doesn't want his kids to bomb when it comes time to tell jokes.
Marlotti hails from St. Louis, where local Halloween tradition calls for children not to say "trick or treat," but to tell a joke in order to earn candy.
"I've been all around the block — literally — telling them that it's important to tell the joke right, or it makes me look bad," Marlotti says.
For most of the year, Salem, Mass., looks like many other historic New England towns. Come October, though, the streets are packed with portable toilets, fried dough vendors and carnival rides. It's a major tourist attraction thanks to its infamous 17th-century witch trials.
Tourists line up for psychics' parlors, face-painters and wax museums, but haunted houses are the biggest draw.
Marshall Tripoli has been in the haunted attractions business in Salem for 21 years. He owns the five-year-old Nightmare Factory, where he says his motto is "Care how you scare."
It's been a few decades since Americans were engaged in a back-of-the-bus controversy. Now a popular bus route between two New York City neighborhoods is reviving the issue.
Last Wednesday, Melissa Franchy boarded the B110 from Williamsburg to Boro Park, two Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. She was accompanying her friend, Sasha Chavkin, a reporter for The New York World, a Columbia Journalism School publication. Their mission: Find out what would happen if Franchy sat at the front of the bus.
Mark your calendars: The world is ending on Oct. 21.
This announcement comes from Harold Camping, the doomsday prophet who said Judgment Day would come on May 21, 2011. On that day, a rolling earthquake was supposed to devastate the world. True believers would join Jesus in heaven. Unbelievers would be tormented for the next five months.
So, when May 21 came and nothing happened, Camping had some explaining to do. Two days later, Camping, the head of Family Radio Network, announced he had been right about the date of God's wrath — just not the method.