On Halloween, goblins and ghouls begin peeking around corners, walking down sidewalks and knocking on doors asking, "Trick-or-Treat?" But even if you're too old for trick-or-treating, a love of things associated with Halloween can pay off – and not just at the end of October.
There are several college scholarships for subjects that fit right in with jack-o'-lanterns, vampires and other spooky things.
In 1986, four young men in Delaware were inspired by a nearby physics class that had challenged its students to a pumpkin throwing contest. They decided to pick up their own pumpkins and start tossing. The annual event became known as "Punkin Chunkin," and it escalated quickly to include machinery and all sorts of other pumpkin-launching tools.
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John Ellsworth won the first year's contest with a 136-foot toss. In 2012, winning teams tossed pumpkins more than 3,000 feet, and the event has raised thousands of dollars for local scholarships.
To qualify for one of the Punkin Chunkin scholarships, you must be a senior student attending one of the accredited high schools in Sussex County, Del. You must also have registered for either the previous year's Punkin Chunkin event or be registered for the current year's.
Recipients must be studying "Chunkin-related fields," as the organizers' website puts it, such as mechanical technology, agriculture or engineering.
Students who are dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind costumes may be interested in a scholarship from the National Costumers Association. The association offers a scholarship targeted at students who are interested in studying theater or costume design while in college.
You must at least 17 years old and maintain a 2.75 GPA or higher in order to apply. The funding for this scholarship fluctuates annually, and so does the amount awarded in scholarships.
If you're more interested in things that go "bump" in the night, perhaps studying bats will suffice, even if they may not be of the vampire variety. The Bat Conservation International organization has annual student research scholarships, where students may receive up to $5,000 for a one-year award.
Scholarships are awarded to current college or graduate students from all over the world. The scholarships are based on student's interest in bat conservation and the ecosystems they affect worldwide, as well as research studies in areas such as bat roosting, bat eating behavior or solutions to bat nuisance issues.
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Got a candy craving and an aptitude for science? You may want to take a look at the American Association of Candy Technologists to help satisfy your sweet tooth. The organization's John Kitt Memorial Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship that's paid in two $2,500 installments after the winner is enrolled in college.
The scholarship is aimed at students who are interested in confectionery science and research and are dedicated to helping the confectionery industry advance worldwide. Scholarships just don't get sweeter than this.
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If experimenting in laboratories is more up your alley, consider a scholarship from the American Society for Clinical Pathology in conjunction with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics. For the past 10 years, these scholarships have helped students accomplish their dreams and attend college, while focusing on degrees in medical laboratory science or other areas of laboratory medicine.
There are four different kinds of scholarships, ranging from $500-$2,000, each with different monetary values and criteria.
No matter what you're interested in, there is a scholarship out there that fits what you're looking to study. Whether that's something creepy and crawly, or a sweet treat, there are plenty of opportunities out there to find the help you may need to pursue your education.
Lindsay Marcil joined Scholarship America in 2013 and is an alumna of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.