Halloween, or Hallowe’en, also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.
Let’s find out some scaaary facts about it!
1. It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from Celtic harvest festivals which may have pagan roots, particularly theGaelic festival Samhain, and that this festival was Christianized as Halloween.
2. Some academics, however, support the view that Halloween began independently as a solely Christian holiday.
3. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising), attending Halloween costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkinsinto jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films.
4. Halloween was influenced by the ancient Roman festival Pomona, which celebrated the harvest goddess of the same name. Many Halloween customs and games that feature apples (such as bobbing for apples) and nuts date from this time. In fact, in the past, Halloween has been called San-Apple Night and Nutcrack Night.
5. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration.
6. Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes.
7. Because Protestant England did not believe in Catholic saints, the rituals traditionally associated with Hallowmas (or Halloween) became associated with Guy Fawkes Night. England declared November 5th Guy Fawkes Night to commemorate the capture and execution of Guy Fawkes, who co-conspired to blow up the Parliament in 1605 in order to restore a Catholic king.
8. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints(hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.
9. The word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin.
10. The word “Hallowe’en” means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening”.
11. It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day).
12. In Scots, the word “eve” is even, and this is contracted to e’en or een.
13. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved intoHallowe’en. Although the phrase “All Hallows'” is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, all saints mass-day), “All Hallows’ Eve” is itself not seen until 1556.
14. The first Jack O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips.
15. Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
16. The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccanwere highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.
17. Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
18. 50% of kids prefer to receive chocolate candy for Halloween, compared with 24% who prefer non-chocolate candy and 10% who preferred gum.
19. The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.
20. The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with a 836 lb. pumpkin.
21. There’s a $1,000 fine for using or selling Silly String in Hollywood on Halloween. The prank product has been banned in Hollywood since 2004 after thousands of bored people would buy it on the streets of Hollywood from illegal vendors and “vandalize” the streets.
22.Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
23. No matter how scary your local haunted house is, it probably can’t top the Haunted Cave in Lewisburg, Ohio. Measuring 3,564 feet long, the Guinness World Records has named it the world’s longest haunted house.
24. “Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.
25. The first known mention of trick-or-treating in print in North America occurred in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, Canada.
26. Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
27. Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.
28. Since its invention in 1898 by the Herman Goelitz Confectionary Company of Fairfield, California, candy corn has been wildly popular, so much so that today, nearly 35 million pounds of candy corn are produced each year.
29. Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.
30. Harry Houdini (1874-1926) is one of the most famous and mysterious magicians. He eerily died on Halloween night in 1926 from appendicitis after he suffered three stomach punches.
31. Pumpkin carving in bulk is a popular Guinness World Record. The proud Halloween enthusiasts of Highwood, Illinois took the record in 2011 with 30,919 simultaneously lit Jack-O-Lanterns.
32. Samhain, which is an Irish Celtic festival, inspired Halloween. It celebrates the end of the harvest season. The tradition spread to the rest of the world after the Irish fled Ireland because of the potato famine.
33. It was believed that the boundary between the living and dead was blurred on Halloween. Since the living were allowed to walk among the dead, human would wear ghoulish masks and dress up so the spirits would not recognized them.
34. Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, claim to be the Halloween capitals of the world, even though the holiday originated in Ireland.
35. Statistically, the biggest danger on Halloween is alcohol poisoning. There are no reported incidents of razors in candy or poisoning (except by parents).
36. In 1970, a five-year-old boy Kevin Toston allegedly ate Halloween candy laced with heroin. Investigators later discovered the heroin belonged to the boy’s uncle and was not intended for a Halloween candy.
37. In 1974, eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan died of cyanide poisoning after eating Halloween candy. Investigators later learned that his father had taken out a $20,000 life insurance policy on each of his children and that he had poisoned his own son and also attempted to poison his daughter.
38. The Village Halloween parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants and draws over 2 million spectators.
39. Children are more than twice as likely to be killed in a pedestrian/car accident on Halloween than on any other night.
40. The Village Halloween parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants and draws over 2 million spectators.
41. The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die