Halloween is a special tradition that dates back to the eighteenth century. Candies, costumes and parties: what’s not to like about Halloween? Whether it’s for a good scare or for the candy, almost all of us love the the supernatural celebration with a long history. Creepy decors, spider webs, motion sensing werewolves; some people like to go extreme to make it fun for everyone. Even adults like to watch a couple of Tim Burton films, dress up as their favorite characters and go party. Here, we have gathered some strange but true facts about your favorite day of the year.
1. Halloween originated in Ireland.
The annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31st originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. On this special occasion, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. Then, during the 18th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. Soon after that, Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. Thus, the evening became Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Today, Halloween is a day where people dress up as their favorite characters and spread joy by giving candies, performing tricks or in some places, telling jokes.
2. Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
Not everyone is as excited as we are for Halloween. While it’s a day of fun for most of us, for some, it is an annual time of anxiety and fear. Samhainophobia is the unrelenting escalation of anxiety, even terror, during the month of Halloween. Sufferers show symptoms such as anxiety, dread, shortness of breath, rapid breathing and many more. According to PsychCentral, self-education and mindfulness techniques can help get rid of the fear.
3. The Jack-o-lantern comes from a Celtic legend.
According to Irish legends, there was a man named Jack who played tricks on the devil. As a punishment for his actions, the devil denied him entrance to both heaven and hell. Jack was condemned to wander the Earth for eternity. Thus, he waves his lantern in an effort to lead people away from their paths; hence the term Jack-o-lanterns.
4. Witches were once highly respected members of a community who practiced Wicca.
Believe it or not, witches were once highly respected members of the community. They practiced “Wicca”, and held annual meetings, called sabbats, on Halloween. The term “witch” was derived from “wicce”, an old English word which means “wise woman”.
5. Black cats, spiders and bats became symbols of Halloween because during medieval times, they were associated with witchcraft.
Have you ever wondered why black cats, spiders and bats are associated with Halloween? Of course spiders are creepy but what about the other two? History has everything to do with this. During medieval times, a particular group of people lived by a strict Protestant lifestyle and shunned anything that went against their beliefs. Since witchcraft was viewed as a practice that worshiped the devil, the group became wary and associated everything that could possibly be linked to a witch. Thus, the felines with dark fur coats, bats and spiders became part of a superstitious belief.
6. Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to appease spirits who roamed the streets.
In Scotland and Ireland, young people would dress up and visit houses. They would then perform tricks, dance or sing, and in turn, they received fruit, nuts, or coins as treats. The tradition has been followed by many countries for an estimated 100 years. Trick-or treating became popular in the US in the 1930’s. According to the National Confectioners Association, chocolate makes up about three-quarters of a trick-or-treater’s loot.
7. Over 90% of parents steal some of their children’s Halloween candy.
A new research examining America’s Halloween candy-eating habits found that a majority of parents don’t hesitate to take candy from their kids loot. The survey commissioned by Crest and conducted by OnePollon on more than 2,000 American adults found that sweet-toothed moms and dads devour a fourth of their child’s total Halloween haul. While we do not need research to tell us this, it is better to know that we are not the only ones who do this.
8. Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
Like everybody else, we love Halloween; maybe a little too much. According to the National Retail Federation, we spend over $5 billion a year celebrating the season. The report also shows that shoppers will spend an average of $56.31 on the holiday.
9. One quarter of all the candy sold annually is for Halloween night.
The candy market revolves around Halloween. Always a popular Halloween candy, it is estimated that Americans consume more than 20 million pounds of candy corn per year. Also, Snickers bars have been considered the number 1 Halloween candy for years.
10. Halloween is traditionally associated with the colors orange and black.
The color orange because of its link to the fall harvest, and black because of its connection to darkness and death.
11. The use of silly string on Halloween is outlawed in Hollywood.
Silly String is basically brightly colored plastic propelled from an aerosol can. It has no other purpose but to annoy people with its stickiness and sliminess. The content is hard to clean up and can be harmful if consumed. As awful as it can be, it is ten times worse during Halloween. This is why in 2004, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge, put forward an ordinance to outlaw the stuff for one night only.