Boo! 25 Strange But True Facts About Halloween

“For some of us, Halloween is every day.” —Tim Burton

Ghosts, ghouls, and candy: what’s not to like about Halloween? We are going to forgo the usual dental warnings about all things candy; and in celebration of this creepy day, we thought it would be fun to share 25 strange but true facts about Halloween.

  1. The tradition of wearing scary costumes on Halloween comes from the ancient Celts: back then, people believed dressing up as demons and the like would confuse or ward off the evil spirits who roamed the streets during Samhain (the pagan version of Halloween).


  1. Christians, in an effort to convert pagans, changed Samhain in the 11th century to a three-day celebration from October 31st to November 2nd. The first night of this holiday is called All Hallow’s Eve, which eventually became Halloween.


  1. Samhainophobia is the medical term for a pathological fear of Halloween.


  1. The Jack-o-Lantern comes from a Celtic legend. According to lore, a miserly old man used to play tricks on the devil and was thus denied entrance to both heaven and hell. Instead, the old man was condemned to wander the Earth, and used his lantern to lead people astray from their paths. Jack-o-Lanterns were originally turnips, not pumpkins.


  1. Owls are popular Halloween symbols. In medieval times, owls were believed to bewitches, and if you heard the call of an owl it meant that someone was about to die.


  1. Legend has it that if you see a spider on Halloween night, it means a loved one is watching over you.


  1. Black cats are a symbol of the spooky side of Halloween – if a black cat crosses your path, you’ll be cursed with bad luck. In the Medieval ages, black cats were seen as the familiars of witches, and this belief perpetuated the black cat’s association with bad luck.


  1. According to legend, if you put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards at Halloween, you’ll see a witch at midnight.


  1. In Scotland and Ireland, young people would go guising, a tradition in which they dressed in costume and visited houses. If they performed a “trick” such as a dance or song, they would be given fruit, nuts, or coins as treats.


  1. Scottish and Irish immigrants brought guising with them to North America, but young people began to prefer pranks over performing. By the 1920s, these pranks were starting to cause serious damage to property. The increasing violence of the “tricks” lead to organized town trick-or-treating.


  1. In the 1940s, trick or treating was halted because war-time rationing had curtailed the use of sugar.


  1. 50% of children prefer to receive chocolate on Halloween over other types of treats. 24% of children like candy, and 10% would choose gum. Toothbrushes didn’t make the list.


  1. Halloween is traditionally associated with the colors orange and black: orange because of its link to the fall harvest, and black because of its connection to darkness and death. Samhain was about celebrating the boundary between life and death.


  1. Ron Wallace holds the world record for the largest pumpkin ever grown: a 1,502 pound behemoth he grew in 2006.


  1. Stephen Clarke holds the world record for the fastest pumpkin carving at 16.47 seconds.


  1. Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday behind Christmas. In 2016, Americans spent $8.4 billion on candy, costumes, and decorations.


  1. According to a legend from the late 1800s, if a young woman stared into a mirror in a dark room on Halloween, she would see the face of her future spouse.


  1. Studies have shown that Halloween makes children a little more evil than usual. Children’s identities are hidden, and they are also emboldened by groups. Because of this, Halloween makes children far more likely to steal candy and money.


  1. In Mexico, people celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 2nd rather than Halloween on October 31st. Celebrants dress up as ghouls and roam the streets.


  1. Halloween is thought to be 6,000 years old, and was first celebrated around 4,000 BCE.


  1. In Hong Kong, Halloween is celebrated during the Festival of the Friendly Ghosts. Food is left out and fires are lit in an effort to make angry ghosts a little happier with the living.


  1. Officials in Belleville, Illinois banned trick or treating for kids over the age of twelve. Teens who venture out on Halloween for treats can be fined up to $1,000.


  1. It is illegal to dress up as a priest for Halloween in Alabama, and you can be fined and/or arrested for the offense.


  1. Although full moons are also associated with Halloween, a Halloween full moon is quite rare. The most recent Halloween full moons were in 1955, 1974, and 2001. A full moon is next expected in 2020.


  1. It is illegal in Vendargues, France for anyone over the age of 12 to wear a clown costume or makeup on Halloween. In 2014, the city had a problem with adults dressed as clowns terrorizing the town.


Happy Halloween from all of us here at McGann Facial Design!