- Halloween originates from a Celtic tradition called Samhain, a festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. They believed it was a time that spirits or fairies could enter our world, and the Celts would put out treats and food to placate the spirits — sometimes, a place at the table was even set for the souls of the dead. Wiccans still celebrate Samhain as a New Year celebration today.
- Halloween is short for Hallows’ Eve or Hallows’ Evening, which was the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on 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.
- Orange and black are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
- Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
- Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.
- In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.
- Black cats were once believed to be witch’s familiars who protected their powers.
- The fear of Halloween is known as Samhainopobia.
- Though a common trope in horror movies and Halloween decorations with witches flying across the full moon, the next full moon on Halloween won’t occur until 2020. The most recent Halloween full moon was back in 2001, and before that it was in 1955.
- 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 into both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.
- Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.
- The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with a 836 lb. pumpkin.
- Stephen Clarke holds the record for the world’s fastest pumpkin carving time: 24.03 seconds, smashing his previous record of 54.72 seconds. The rules of the competition state that the pumpkin must weigh less than 24 pounds and be carved in a traditional way, which requires at least eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth.
Trick-or-treating – Whats that about…
- The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognised as human.
- 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.
- Versions of trick-or-treating have existed since medieval times. In the past, it was known as guising where children and poor adults went around in costumes during Hallowmas begging for food and money in exchange for songs or prayers. It was also called souling.
- The first known mention of trick-or-treating in print occurred in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, Canada.