Dispatches: Halloween Main Page contest generates new article content
Did You Know (DYK), which highlights Wikipedia's newest content, held a contest and listed Halloween-themed DYK hooks on the Main Page. The idea for a series of Halloween-themed DYKs originated with the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta article, verified for DYK on October 19. Victuallers asked DYK regulars to hold the article until October 31 and they agreed. He later suggested a contest in which the best Halloween-themed article created before October 31 would receive a spot on the main page. The suggestion was later expanded to use Halloween-themed DYK hooks throughout the day. The "Did you know Halloween contest", which waived the usual "five days to list a nomination" rule, began on October 20, 2008. It successfully generated 28 Halloween-themed articles, providing most of the new DYK articles on Halloween. The DYK articles ranged from the mythological Cerberus to the very real vampire moths, phasmophobia (the fear of ghosts), Halloween in the Castro, and NASA'S "Galactic Ghoul" cluster of stars. Some of the sample hooks were:
Did you know...
- ... that phasmophobia is a fear of ghosts?
- ... that Halloween in the Castro, San Francisco's gay village, started as a children's costume contest in 1948 and was attended by 500,000 people in 2002?
- ... that the Mother Shipton Moth is named after the likeness of the legendary witch Ursula Southeil on its wings?
- ... that the permanent collection on display at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, Washington includes "Sylvester" (pictured), an excellently preserved mummy?
- ... that the wife of sawmill owner Julius Nicolai Jacobsen was said to haunt their house in Fredrikstad, Norway after she died?
- ... that some types of vampire moth can bite and drink human blood?
- ... that millions of children participate in Halloween-related fundraising events for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, a program that has raised over US$188 million worldwide?
- ... that candy pumpkins were placed on the seat of every U.S. Senator by the candy industry in 1985 in hopes of extending U.S. daylight saving time to cover Halloween?
- ... that in classical mythology, Cerberus (pictured) is a monstrous dog with multiple heads that guards the gates to the underworld?
- ... that The Witchery of Archery, written by Maurice Thompson in 1878, was the first book about hunting with a bow ever published?
- ... that David J. Skal and Elias Savada wrote the first book-length biography of Tod Browning, who directed the films Dracula and Freaks?
- ... that the Norwegian film Cold Prey 2 was the sequel to what was called "the best slasher flick" of 2006?
The Picture of the Day, which highlights featured pictures, extended the spooky theme, featuring an illustration of two skulls that shows the location of Wormian bones. Wormian bones are abnormal extra bone plates in the cranium. The image was uploaded by LadyofHats and featured in March 2008.
The Featured article of the day was Treehouse of Horror, describing a series of Halloween-themed special episodes of the long-running animated television series The Simpsons that are broadcast annually near Halloween. To date, 19 episodes have been created; they are usually based on a horror, science fiction, or supernatural premise and often parody well-known films or books from these genres. "Treehouse of Horror XIX" premiered on November 2, 2008. Treehouse of Horror became featured in January 2008 after its second nomination at featured article candidates. Its main author was Scorpion0422, who is a Featured list director and author of much Simpsons-related featured content. While on the Main Page, the article drew in over 103,000 views.
A mock-up of the Halloween mainpage can be seen here, adjusted to include all of the DYKs that appeared throughout the day. DYK is planning a themed "Did you know" column for Christmas, with efforts towards that to begin on December 1, 2008.
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