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Brad Stevens
Brad Stevens

11 Spooky Halloween Tattoos

Brad Stevens
Brad Stevens

For some of us, every day is Halloween. What better way to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year with indelible body art?

1. Trick and Treat

This adorable tattoo has all the Halloween bases covered. Witch? Check? Ghost? Yup. Pumpkin? Hell, yeah. The person who has this tattoo—which was created by Adam Gibson of Good Times Tattoo in Salt Lake City, Utah—should get free candy corn for life.

2. Bridezilla

This lovely traditional-style Bride, inked by Matt Houston of Gastown Tattoo Parlor in Vancouver, will have Frankie agog. Stitches never looked so beautiful.

3. A True Halloween Lover

You think you love Halloween more than anyone else? Sorry, but this back piece—done by Darcy Nutt of Chalice Tattoo in Boise, Idaho—proves you wrong. It is so full of colorful pumpkin-y goodness that you've gotta smile.

4. and 5. Bewitching

Here are two pin-up witches for the price of one! The black and grey gal has her broom and bats at the ready, while her more colorful counterpart has a kitty and bubbling cauldron. New York Adorned's Brad Stevens has a portfolio full of spooky tattoos (like these ladies in their Halloween costumes), so peruse to your heart's content.

6. Not a Nightmare at All

Nothing says true love like Jack Skellington and Sally cuddled up. The shading and cool cameo-like shape makes this Nightmare Before Christmas tattoo—inked by Red at Dark Circle in Middlesbrough, UK—stand out from the crowd.

7. Straight from the Belfry

What's better than a jaunty bat? Look, it's so spooky yet full of love! This tattoo was created by Meg Knobel of Buju Tattoo in San Diego, California.

8. Delightfully Gorey

edward gorey bat tattoo

The delightful drawings of Edward Gorey are always a wonderful tattoo subject, and this detailed black-and-white batty bat—inked by an artist at A Gypsy Rose Tattoo in New Orleans—is a winner.

9. Even Gorey-er

gorey dracula tattoo

Speaking of Edward Gorey, one of his lesser-known projects was an illustrated version of Dracula, which is also available as a tiny pop-up paper theater. This illustration of Dracula and Lucy, inked by Shawn Dubin of Moo Tattoo in Philadelphia, takes up a nice chunk of skin—the better to see the elegant cross-hatching that's a signature Gorey style.

10. Thanks for the Meows

Halloween Kitty

Can you even deal? A stitched-up black cat, wearing a party hat, popping out of a pumpkin, with little bats and spiderwebs and a lucky 13 for good measure? No, no, we cannot even deal. This tattoo is the work of artist Sunny Buick.

11. Zombie Boy

Rico the Zombie (aka Rick Genest) has walked the runways, shown up in Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" video, and is a spokesperson for L'Oreal's Dermablend make-up. The majority of his body art is by Frank Lewis of Montreal. No matter what kind of haute couture Genest is wearing, he's always ready for Halloween underneath his clothes.

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Big Questions
Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?
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Fruitcake is a shelf-stable food unlike any other. One Ohio family has kept the same fruitcake uneaten (except for periodic taste tests) since it was baked in 1878. In Antarctica, a century-old fruitcake discovered in artifacts left by explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 expedition remains “almost edible,” according to the researchers who found it. So what is it that makes fruitcake so freakishly hardy?

It comes down to the ingredients. Fruitcake is notoriously dense. Unlike almost any other cake, it’s packed chock-full of already-preserved foods, like dried and candied nuts and fruit. All those dry ingredients don’t give microorganisms enough moisture to reproduce, as Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, explained in 2014. That keeps bacteria from developing on the cake.

Oh, and the booze helps. A good fruitcake involves plenty of alcohol to help it stay shelf-stable for years on end. Immediately after a fruitcake cools, most bakers will wrap it in a cheesecloth soaked in liquor and store it in an airtight container. This keeps mold and yeast from developing on the surface. It also keeps the cake deliciously moist.

In fact, fruitcakes aren’t just capable of surviving unspoiled for months on end; some people contend they’re better that way. Fruitcake fans swear by the aging process, letting their cakes sit for months or even years at a stretch. Like what happens to a wine with age, this allows the tannins in the fruit to mellow, according to the Wisconsin bakery Swiss Colony, which has been selling fruitcakes since the 1960s. As it ages, it becomes even more flavorful, bringing out complex notes that a young fruitcake (or wine) lacks.

If you want your fruitcake to age gracefully, you’ll have to give it a little more hooch every once in a while. If you’re keeping it on the counter in advance of a holiday feast a few weeks away, the King Arthur Flour Company recommends unwrapping it and brushing it with whatever alcohol you’ve chosen (brandy and rum are popular choices) every few days. This is called “feeding” the cake, and should happen every week or so.

The aging process is built into our traditions around fruitcakes. In Great Britain, one wedding tradition calls for the bride and groom to save the top tier of a three-tier fruitcake to eat until the christening of the couple’s first child—presumably at least a year later, if not more.

Though true fruitcake aficionados argue over exactly how long you should be marinating your fruitcake in the fridge, The Spruce says that “it's generally recommended that soaked fruitcake should be consumed within two years.” Which isn't to say that the cake couldn’t last longer, as our century-old Antarctic fruitcake proves. Honestly, it would probably taste OK if you let it sit in brandy for a few days.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Lists
20 Random Facts About Shopping
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Shopping on Black Friday—or, really, any time during the holiday season—is a good news/bad news kind of endeavor. The good news? The deals are killer! The bad news? So are the lines. If you find yourself standing behind 200 other people who braved the crowds and sacrificed sleep in order to hit the stores early today, here's one way to pass the time: check out these fascinating facts about shopping through the ages.

1. The oldest customer service complaint was written on a clay cuneiform tablet in Mesopotamia 4000 years ago. (In it, a customer named Nanni complains that he was sold inferior copper ingots.)

2. Before battles, some Roman gladiators read product endorsements. The makers of the film Gladiator planned to show this, but they nixed the idea out of fear that audiences wouldn’t believe it.

3. Like casinos, shopping malls are intentionally designed to make people lose track of time, removing clocks and windows to prevent views of the outside world. This kind of “scripted disorientation” has a name: It’s called the Gruen Transfer.

4. According to a study in Social Influence, people who shopped at or stood near luxury stores were less likely to help people in need.

5. A shopper who first purchases something on his or her shopping list is more likely to buy unrelated items later as a kind of reward.

6. On the Pacific island of Vanuatu, some villages still use pigs and seashells as currency. In fact, the indigenous bank there uses a unit of currency called the Livatu. Its value is equivalent to a boar’s tusk. 

7. Sears used to sell build-your-own homes in its mail order catalogs.

8. The first shopping catalog appeared way back in the 1400s, when an Italian publisher named Aldus Manutius compiled a handprinted catalog of the books that he produced for sale and passed it out at town fairs.

9. The first product ever sold by mail order? Welsh flannel.

10. The first shopping cart was a folding chair with a basket on the seat and wheels on the legs.

11. In the late 1800s in Corinne, Utah, you could buy legal divorce papers from a vending machine for $2.50.

12. Some of the oldest known writing in the world includes a 5000-year-old receipt inscribed on a clay tablet. (It was for clothing that was sent by boat from Ancient Mesopotamia to Dilmun, or current day Bahrain.)

13. Beginning in 112 CE, Emperor Trajan began construction on the largest of Rome's imperial forums, which housed a variety of shops and services and two libraries. Today, Trajan’s Market is regarded as the oldest shopping mall in the world.

14. The Chinese invented paper money. For a time, there was a warning written right on the currency that all counterfeiters would be decapitated.

15. Halle Berry was named after Cleveland, Ohio's Halle Building, which was home to the Halle Brothers department store.

16. At Boston University, students can sign up for a class on the history of shopping. (Technically, it’s called “The Modern American Consumer”)

17. Barbra Streisand had a mini-mall installed in her basement. “Instead of just storing my things in the basement, I can make a street of shops and display them,” she told Harper's Bazaar. (There are photos of it here.)

18. Shopping online is not necessarily greener. A 2016 study at the University of Delaware concluded that “home shopping has a greater impact on the transportation sector than the public might suspect.”

19. Don’t want to waste too much money shopping? Go to the mall in high heels. A 2013 Brigham Young University study discovered that shoppers in high heels made more balanced buying decisions while balancing in pumps.

20. Cyber Monday is not the biggest day for online shopping. The title belongs to November 11, or Singles Day, a holiday in China that encourages singles to send themselves gifts. According to Fortune, this year's event smashed all previous records with more than $38 million in sales.

A heaping handful of these facts came from John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, and James Harkin's delightful book, 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.

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