Halloween is right around the corner. Although, it may seem like just an annual night of fright, packed with tricks, treats and costumes, it didn’t start off that way. Gather your friends, dress up in costume, make some different holiday-themed drinks and create a spooky playlist.
Whether you are a Halloween trivia champ or just in it for the candy, how much do you truly know about this mysterious holiday? Be the brainiest of your ghoulish crew by sharing these spooky and fun facts about Halloween history, scary movies and more!
Halloween started with a Celtic festival.
Halloween-type behavior dates back more than 2,000 years to the festival Samhain, which means ‘summers end’. Held around the first of November, it celebrated the final day of harvest and the crossing of spirits into the other world. People in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Northern France would gather together with feasts, bonfires and costumes.
Irish folklore inspired the Jack-O-Lantern.
As the story goes, an Irish man named Stingy Jack tricked the devil and therefore was not allowed into heaven or hell. He spent his days roaming the Earth, carrying a lantern. In turn, receiving the name “Jack of the Lantern”.
People didn’t always carve Pumpkins.
In Ireland and Scotland, people began carving root vegetables with Stingy Jack’s scary “face”. These replicated the carved out turnip he used to light his way. When the Irish brought the tradition to America, pumpkins were carved more often because the squash is native the United States, so they were readily available.
Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins.
Halloween wouldn’t be the same without pumpkins. China is the largest producer of pumpkins, followed by India, Russia and the U.S. The top pumpkin-producing states include – Illinois, California, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan, which produce 1.31 billion pounds of pumpkins.
The record for most lit Jack-O-Lanterns.
As Halloween increased in popularity in the United States, different celebrations and world records have been broken directly related to the spooky season. New Hampshire broke it’s own Guinness World Record for the most lit Jack-O-Lanterns on display at 30,581 carved pumpkins.
Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday.
From all the costumes, ghoulish tricks and sweet treats to creepy outdoor décor. Halloween is big, big business. In fact, it is now the second largest commercial holiday with Christmas being the only one to surpass it in sales.
Banned from trick-or-treating.
According to CBC, anyone over the age of 16 caught trick-or-treating in Bathurst, New Brunswick faces up to a $200 fine. The city also has a curfew for everyone else, so even those under 16 aren’t allowed out after 8 p.m. on All Hallow’s Eve.
People used to sing and dance for treats.
At one time in history, in order to receive your sweet treats, it was customary to perform prayers, plays, songs and dances. A practice called “mumming”, it involves disguising oneself, going door to door and performing in neighbors homes and public places.
Harry Houdini died on Halloween.
Fascinated with magic from a very young age, Harry Houdini began performing at the age of 17 years old. Quickly becoming America’s favorite magician, the illusionist and entertainer is a world-renowned legend for his daring escapes. Many find it fitting that this master trickster died on October 31, 1926.
The night before Halloween, known as Mischief Night (or depending where you live, Devil’s Night, Gate Night or Cabbage Night) is popular for pulling pranks: toilet-papering homes, playing ding-dong-ditch and egging people’s property. Today, “celebrating” Mischief Night may seem like a little more than an excuse to annoy your neighbor, but it’s history actually goes back hundreds of years.