Spooky & Wacky Facts About Halloween’s History You Won’t Believe

Halloween, the enchanting holiday celebrated on October 31st, is a time when the ordinary turns extraordinary, and the spooky becomes spectacular. From its eerie origins to quirky traditions, there’s more to Halloween than meets the eye and I decided to dedicate this article to interesting facts about Halloween’s history as there are plenty of things to uncover about this holiday.

You will see included below interesting facts about Halooween’s origin, some of the most common elements/traditions/customs connected to Halloween, Guinness World Records, and more!

Facts About Halloween's History You Won't Believe

Over the centuries, Halloween has evolved from ancient Celtic rituals to All Hallows Eve to today’s celebration of all things spooky and sweet. This patchwork history has left us with some very surprising facts about Halloween’s origins and traditions. Let’s dig up some of the most bizarre, spooky, and wacky trivia to share at your next Halloween party!

So prepare to enter the fascinating world of Halloween and unearth fun facts and curiosities that will give you a fresh perspective on this bewitching holiday. Get ready to embark on a journey filled with historical intrigue and modern-day marvels that will make your Halloween celebrations even more spook-tacular.

And if you want to send your friends and family some amazing Halloween gifs or Halloween ecards, I’ve got you covered too!

Spooky & Wacky Facts About Halloween’s History You Won’t Believe

Origins in Celtic Samhain

Let’s kick things off with a deep dive into Halloween’s roots. Halloween finds its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. This is still celebrated nowadays!

Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It was believed that on the night of October 31st, the boundaries between the living and the dead were blurred.

To ward off malevolent spirits and celebrate the event, the Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes. [1]

Samhainophobia: The Fear of Halloween

One of the things about Halloween you may not know is that there is a specific phobia associated with this holiday.

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For some, Halloween isn’t all fun and games. Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween, and it can be a real struggle for those who experience it.

The fear may be rooted in childhood experiences or cultural beliefs and people who experience it have anxiety about anything related to this holiday. [2]

Jack-o’-Lantern Mysteries and the Man Who Tricked the Devil

Jack-o'-Lantern origin Halloween facts and history

Jack-o’-lanterns are an iconic Halloween decoration, but do you know the legend behind them?

According to Irish folklore, a man named Stingy Jack, who tricked the devil (a few times!!!), was denied entry to both heaven and hell.[3]

Forced to roam the Earth, he carried a carved-out turnip with a burning coal inside to light his way. This gave rise to the tradition of carving faces into pumpkins and turnips, creating the eerie glow of the jack-o’-lantern.

The Haunted History of Halloween Costumes

The Haunted History of Halloween Costumes

Halloween costumes have come a long way from their spooky beginnings. Originally, costumes were meant to confuse and deter evil spirits.

People would dress up as ghosts or monsters to blend in with the otherworldly entities wandering the Earth on Halloween night. [4]

In the early 20th century, Halloween costumes began to take on a more playful and festive tone, evolving into the diverse array of costumes we see today.

Guinness World Record for Pumpkins

Halloween wouldn’t be the same without pumpkins, and some people take pumpkin carving to the next level.

The current Guinness World Record for the heaviest pumpkin ever grown is a whopping 2,749 pounds (1,246.9 kilograms)! [5]

Strange Laws and Halloween Costumes

Halloween costumes may be all about fun and fantasy, but there are some quirky laws related to dressing up. In Alabama, it’s actually illegal to dress as a clergyman, and you could face fines or even jail time for this peculiar offense.[6]

Impersonation of Law Enforcement Officers: In many states, impersonating a law enforcement officer, even as part of a Halloween costume, is illegal. This is taken seriously due to the potential for misuse of authority. [7]

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It’s essential to check local laws and regulations to ensure your Halloween costume doesn’t land you in hot water!

Candy Corn Was Originally Called “Chicken Feed”

This iconic triangular Halloween candy was invented by George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company in the 1880s. Back then, the tri-color corn kernel confection was referred to as “chicken feed”.

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that “candy corn” became the popular name. [8]

Trick-or-Treating Originated in Medieval Times. Meet the “Soul Cake”

Trick-or-Treating Originated in Medieval Times. Meet the "Soul Cake"

In the Middle Ages, poor adults and children would go “souling” on Hallowmas.

What is Hallowmas you ask?

It consisted of three holidays – three consecutive days: All-hallows Eve, All-hallows, and All Souls.

People would knock on doors offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes – a pastry-like bread with currants.

This Pagan-Christian mashup evolved into modern trick-or-treating. [9]

Black and Orange Halloween Colors Represent Light and Dark

Black and orange are iconic shades associated with Halloween. But did you know these colors originated from the Pagan wheel of the year?

Black represented darkness and winter while orange embodied sunlight and autumn harvest seasons. Purple and green have been added more recently. [10]

The World’s Largest Halloween Parade

New York City hosts the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which is the largest Halloween parade in the world.

It draws participants and spectators from all over the globe, showcasing a stunning array of costumes and creative expressions.

The parade has been a staple of Halloween in the city since 1973. [11]

Halloween Traditions Exist in Many Countries

Dia de los Muertos Mexican Halloween

From Japan’s Obon Festival to Mexico’s and Spain’s Dia de los Muertos, from Dia de las Brujas in Venezuela to different holidays honoring the dead and scaring off evil spirits in India, Nepal, Cambodia, etc., Halloween-like celebrations and holidays exist across the globe.

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Bats and their Connection to Halloween

Halloween bats history

The bats are often associated with Halloween. But why is that?

It is said that during Samhain many insects were attracted to the bonfires’ light. Bats came to enjoy the feast. [13]

There are some stories that link bats to the idea of rebirth and transformation (being flying mammals), and as they came in big numbers during Samhains, they were believed to represent the souls of the departed.

Additional Halloween fun facts and illegal curiosities around Halloween

  • In Hollywood, it’s illegal to use silly string on Halloween. The prank product was banned after vandalism and chaos in 2004 [12].
  • Until recently in Massachusetts, it was forbidden to give out candy with over 90% cocoa content. Now it is banned to offer alcohol candy. [14]

Trick-or-Treating Etiquette

Trick-or-treating is a cherished Halloween tradition, but did you know there’s an unwritten code of conduct for participants?

The rule of thumb is to only approach houses with their porch lights on and to be polite, saying “Trick-or-treat” and “Thank you.” And don’t forget to check your candy haul before indulging to ensure safety.

Halloween facts you need to know. Discover the history of Halloween traditions! jack'o-lantern #halloween #halloweenfacts #halloweenhistory #halloweenthingstoknow #halloweentrivia

Halloween history. Doscover the origin of all halloween superstitions and Halloween traditions. Halloween facts you need to know. #halloween #halloweenfacts #halloweenhistory #halloweenthingstoknow #halloweentrivia #pumpkin #halloweentraditions #halloweensuperstitions

The Spooktacular Halloween History. Amazing Halloween facts and the stories behind each Halloween tradition #halloween #halloweenfacts #halloweenhistory #halloweenthingstoknow #halloweentrivia #pumpkin #halloweentraditions #halloweensuperstitions

The Amazing Halloween History. Spooktacular Halloween facts and the stories behind Halloween traditions and superstitions  #halloween #halloweenfacts #halloweenhistory #halloweenthingstoknow #halloweentrivia #pumpkin #halloweentraditions #halloweensuperstitions

Information sources

[1] https://www.worldhistory.org/Samhain/

[2] https://www.psycom.net/anxiety-samhainophobia

[3] https://www.history.com/news/history-of-the-jack-o-lantern-irish-origins

[4] https://webbweekly.com/articles/2020/10/21/the-history-of-halloween-costumes/

[5] https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/heaviest-pumpkin

[6] https://law.justia.com/codes/alabama/2022/title-13a/chapter-14/section-13a-14-4/

[7] https://www.fresnodefense.com/blog/2022/september/is-it-illegal-to-dress-up-as-a-cop-for-halloween/

[8] https://www.history.com/news/candy-corn-invented

[9] https://eduworks.com/LOTT/sco1/history_of_halloween.html & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_cake

[10] https://www.today.com/life/holidays/halloween-colors-meanings-rcna50174

[11] https://halloween-nyc.com/about-us/

[12] https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-09-22/beverly-hills-bans-silly-string-hair-removal-gel-and-shaving-cream-on-halloween-night

[13]https://holidappy.com/holidays/the-history-of-halloween-bats

[14] https://live959.com/banned-illegal-halloween-candy-massachusetts/

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,

Lori

Iā€™m offering public relations, communications and image counseling in everyday life and I have a PR agency ā€“ PRwave INTERNATIONAL. I am passionate about reading, blogging (I also have a blog in Romanian) and traveling. Follow me on Twitter - @violetaloredana (Romanian) and @TravelMoments.

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