The Names of 10 Fireworks Effects

iStock
iStock

To me, their names always were, "The Ones That Do That Shooty Thing," "The Ones That Scream" and "The Ones That Kind of Sparkle Out." Very technical. If you're like me, here's a mini-lesson—try to spot them at whatever fireworks display you attend this Fourth of July.

1. PEONY

This one is apparently the most common, so your chances of spotting it in the skies this weekend are pretty good. It's "a spherical break of colored stars."

2. CHRYSANTHEMUM

This is a variation of the Peony—the difference is that the stars leave a visible trail of sparks. To me, this looks like a fiber optic ball or those balls that you put your hand on to attract the current at science museums and the like.

3. WILLOW

I love this one! It's a lot like the Peony and its variations (the Chrysanthemum and the Dahlia), but it leaves trails of silver or gold stars that produce a weeping willow-ish outline.

4. HORSETAIL

It's a compact little burst that falls down, well, like a horsetail. You might also hear this one referred to as a Waterfall Shell.

5. FISH

The shell bursts and then you see little squiggles of light squirming away from the main burst. The effect looks like fish swimming away. Or sperm. Whatever.

6. SPIDER

This one is fast-burning and bursts very hard, which makes the stars shoot out straight and flat. Basically, they look like lots of spider legs.

7. PALM

This one produces an effect that looks like a palm tree when it bursts (go figure). Some even have a thick tail that looks like a trunk.

8. CROSSETTE

Take lots of tic-tac-toe boards and cross them over each other haphazardly. That's kind of what the crossette looks like. It's usually accompanied by a loud crackling noise.

9. Kamuro

Named after a Japanese hairstyle, this one has a dense burst that leaves a glittery trail.

10. RINGS

I like these because they can be arranged to look like atoms, which is very mental_floss-y. But typically you see rings within rings, like the ones in the picture.

This post originally appeared in 2009.

Predicting This Year's 10 Most Popular Halloween Costumes

Margot Robbie stars in I, Tonya (2017)
Margot Robbie stars in I, Tonya (2017)
NEON

Odes to ‘80s ice skating icon Tonya Harding are slated to make an unlikely comeback. Thanks in large part to the 2017 biopic about Harding’s life (I, Tonya), we can expect to see quite a few Halloween revelers in bedazzled leotards and skirts this year.

There has also been a 43 percent spike in searches for scrunchies since August, according to fashion search platform Lyst, which teamed up with Pinterest to forecast the top 10 costume trends for Halloween this year. Searches and saves on both platforms—which are used by a combined total of 210 million monthly users—were analyzed to create this list.

“The data shows that consumers start searching, planning, and pinning their perfect Halloween outfit from as early as spring onwards—giving a pretty strong indication of what will be the most popular costume ideas ahead of time,” Lyst wrote in an online post.

The second most popular costume on the list: any of the characters from the hit show Riverdale—especially Betty and Jughead. Popular searches for clothing items on Lyst include fluffy pink sweatshirts, beanies, and fur-lined denim jackets.

Other costumes inspired by fictional characters include a warrior from Black Panther’s Wakanda, Edna Mode from the The Incredibles, and a Mamma Mia-inspired dancing queen (although these are based on actual ABBA costumes, of course).

Here’s the full top 10 list:

1. Tonya Harding
2. A Riverdale character
3. A 90’s icon
4. A warrior of Wakanda
5. A flamingo
6. Edna Mode
7. An ABBA-inspired dancing queen
8. A cosmic fairy
9. Frida Kahlo
10. A cow

The Most Popular Halloween Candy in Each State

If you've ever argued that no one actually likes candy corn, you're probably not from Alabama, Iowa, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, or Rhode Island. The controversial confection is a favorite treat among residents in those states, according to sales data from online candy retailer CandyStore.com.

As they've done for more than a decade, the bulk candy retailer combed through 11 years of data (with a particular focus on the months leading up to All Hallows' Eve) to gauge America’s top-selling sweets. They created the interactive map below to display their results.

Source: CandyStore.com.

In addition to the divisive—yet classic—candy corn, Skittles, M&Ms, Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Starburst were among the nation's favorite candies. Hot Tamales, Tootsie Pops, Jolly Ranchers, and Sour Patch Kids have all earned some candy lovers' devotion, too.

Some states are unique in their top candy choices: Mississippi was the only state to name 3 Musketeers the best, while Connecticut opted for Almond Joy and West Virginia showed their love of Blow Pops. Meanwhile, trick-or-treaters in Kentucky have a sweet tooth for Swedish Fish, Louisianans love Lemonheads, and Delawareans would die for Life Savers.

After seeing which treat is number one in your state, check out the chart below to learn how many pounds of each top-ranking candy are consumed in each state (and then go buy a new toothbrush).

Source: CandyStore.com

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