11 Fascinating Facts About Halloween You Probably Don’t know
Halloween is near and it’s time for the little “ghosts” and “goblins” to take over the streets and ask for candy and scare each other silly. The same creepy and spooky stories that have been told for ages will be retold around fires, scary films will conquer the box office and pop up on TV screens, and pumpkins will be carved into jack-o’-lanterns. But how much do you know about what has become many people’s favorite time of year? Would you care to know all the little details and trivia behind Halloween or are you only concerned with finding the best costume and eating as much candy as you can yet again this year? Either way, here are eleven interesting facts about Halloween that might make the last night of October even more enjoyable for you.
Written By Theodoros II ForTCmag
HALLOWEEN’S ETYMOLOGY AND ORIGIN
The word Halloween is the shortened version of “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening,” which was the evening before All Hallows’ holy day or Hallowmas (November 1). In an effort to convert pagans, the Christian church decided that Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around October 31.
NOT REALLY A CHRISTIAN CELEBRATION
Despite popular belief Halloween is not exactly a Christian holiday but rather a mixture of Christian and pagan traditions. This is what the religious freaks probably learned in Alabama and then banned people from dressing up as or impersonating a priest, rabbi, or nun on Halloween. They keep it real down in the Old South, don’t they?
MICHAEL MEYERS WEARS CAPTAIN KIRK’S MASK IN HALLOWEEN FILM
Apparently John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) was on such a tight budget that they had to buy the cheapest mask available they could find for Michael Meyers to wear, which ended up being a mask of Star Trek’s Captain James Kirk, thus the face of the brilliant William Shatner. Shatner initially didn’t know the mask was of his likeness, but when he found out years later, he said he was honored.
HALLOWEEN NOWADAYS MEANS BIG BUCKS
Whether you’re buying costumes for yourself or your kids, spending money on candy to give away, or just buying decorations for your home, there’s no way you’re not giving money to the thriving Halloween industry. Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas with an estimated $7 billion spent by consumers every year.
TRICK-OR-TREATING HAS BEEN AROUND FOR CENTURIES
Versions of trick-or-treating go back to the UK, more specifically, to medieval Scotland. Back then it was known as “guising” and children as well as poor adults went around in costumes on Hallowmas begging for food and money in exchange for songs or prayers. However, the American version of trick-or-treating that we all know and love was brought by Irish immigrants and became popular during the early twentieth century, but vanished suddenly during WWII when sugar was rationed.
After the rationing ended in 1947, the children’s magazine Jack and Jill, radio program The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and the Peanuts comic strip each helped to revive the tradition of dressing up in costumes and going door-to-door asking for candy. By the early fifties, trick-or-treating was massively popular all over the country again
CHOCOLATE IS THE TOP TREAT AT HALLOWEEN TIME
A recent poll showed that over fifty percent of American kids prefer to receive any type of chocolate for Halloween, compared with only twenty-four percent who prefer non-chocolate candy and ten percent who prefer gum. Once again chocolate proves to be the king of treats no matter the holiday or time of year.
HOW THE JACK-O’-LANTERN GOT ITS NAME
According to Irish legend, jack-o’-lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance to both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths. However, according to other sources, jack-o’-lantern is originally a term for the visual phenomenon ignis fatuus, which means “foolish fire,” also known as a will-o’-the-wisp in English folklore and the term was widely used in East Anglia in the seventeenth century. Here at Tcmag we’re gonna go with the first version of the story since Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
HALLOWEEN IS THE WICCAN NEW YEAR
Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the Celtic tradition of Samhain, a festival that marked the end of the Celtic year in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. The local tribes believed that it was a time when spirits and fairies could enter our world, and for that reason the Celts would put treats and food out in front of their homes to welcome the spirits. The remaining Wiccans and other pagans of Ireland still celebrate Samhain as a New Year celebration today.
HALLOWEEN SYMBOLS WEREN’T JUST PICKED RANDOMLY
If you thought that black cats, spiders, and bats became Halloween symbols just because, then you’re about to get a serious news flash flush with interesting facts. All these symbols were picked because of their creepy history and ties to Wiccans since they were thought to be the familiars of witches in the Middle Ages, and are often associated with bad luck. Bats are even further connected to Halloween through the ancient Samhain ritual of building a bonfire, which drove away insects and attracted bats.
HALLOWEEN AND WORLD RECORDS
Stephen Clarke holds the record for the world’s fastest pumpkin carving time with an astonishing time of 24.03 seconds, demolishing his own previous record of 54.72 seconds. The rules of the competition state that the pumpkin must weigh less than twenty-four pounds and be carved in a traditional way, which requires at least eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth. Let’s just say that if this were an Olympic sport the likes of Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and Chris Hoy would seem slow as snails compared to the “Pumpkin Master.”
POISONED HALLOWEEN CANDY RUMORS JUST A BUNCH OF HYPE
Despite what all the warnings may lead parents to believe, there has never been a documented case of a stranger poisoning kids’ Halloween candy. Also, if you’ve heard about razor blades lurking in nougat, pins in chocolate, and syringes the answer is simple: You heard a lot of BULLSHIT. So parents can pretty much stop inspecting every shiny wrapper for tampering and instead worry about something worthwhile: The National Safety Council reports that children are four times more likely to be killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.