You’ve got your costume, your spooky snacks, and your entire house is decorated to maximum Halloween capacity. Despite the fact that Halloween is your favorite, how much do you reallyknow about this centuries-old holiday?
Below are 25 facts about Halloween’s traditions, history, and origins. You might be surprised to learn where the jack-o-lantern came from, or why owls are associated with Halloween in the first place. Take off your terrifying Halloween mask for a moment to read these fascinating facts, and be prepared to have your mind blown by #23.
#1. Halloween (the film) had a low budget, so they purchased an already-made mask from a local Halloween shop for Michael Myers to wear. Believe it or not, the mask is actually a modified mask of William Shatner.
#2. The first jack-o-lanterns were actually carved from turnips.
#3. The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” At certain times throughout history, people that practiced wicca were highly respected members of the community.
#4. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die. That probably explains why owls are still a popular Halloween image today.
#5. According to Irish legend, jack-o-lanterns are named after a man named Jack. The story goes like this: Jack tricked the devil, and was forbidden to enter both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their intended path.
#6. Parts of Halloween were influenced by an ancient Roman festival called Pomona, which was a celebration of an Italian harvest goddess.
#7. Trick-or-treating evolved from a Celtic tradition, which involved putting treats and foods outside of your house to appeal to the spirits.
#8. Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
#9. His life was his strange as his death: Harry Houdini died on Halloween, 1926, as a result of appendicitis brought on by three stomach punches.
#10. According to one old folk tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
#11. The Village Halloween Parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants, and over two million people come to watch.
#12. Both Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, are the self-proclaimed “Halloween capitals of the world.”
#13. There’s a $1,000 fine for using or selling Silly String in Hollywood on Halloween. It makes sense, as silly string is ridiculously hard to clean up.
#14. Black cats, spiders, and bats are all Halloween symbols because of their ties to Medieval witchcraft.
#15. Candy makers supposedly lobbied to extend daylight savings time into the beginning of November to get an extra hour of daylight so children could collect even more candy, forcing people to purchase more candy to meet the demand.
#16. Americans spend an estimated $6 billion on Halloween each year. After all, candy, costumes, and decorations can get pretty pricey.
#17. Halloween used to be a day of romance. Many people in Ireland, for example, used Halloween as a chance to play fortune-telling games to predict their true love.
#18. In the United States, Halloween was originally referred to as “Cabbage Night.”
#19. Some animal shelters won’t allow the adoption of black cats around Halloween, fearful that people will sacrifice or abuse them.
#20. In Alabama it’s illegal to dress up as a priest for your Halloween costume.
#21. The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven. It was 836 pounds.
#22. It’s is actually very rare for a full moon to occur on Halloween. Astronomers believe one will occur on October 31, 2020.
#23. Boston holds the record for the most jack-o-lanterns lit at once. The number? 30,128.
#24. Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
#25. The first known mention of trick-or-treating was written in a newspaper in 1927, somewhere in Alberta Canada.