Halloween is the only day of the year that makes me happy to look forward to. I get to dress up, I get to look horrifying and it’s time for pumpkins! It’s after all the typical celebration of all things that are considered ‘spooky.’ Some traditions are trick-or-treating or pumpkin carving (which is really fun to do!) But, for today, I got some fun facts about this spooky, festive day! I know it’s not anywhere near Halloween, but it’s the spooky month, so I’m allowed to 😉
- Jack-o’-lantern is named after the Irish legend Stingy Jack
Legend says that Stingy Jack invited the devil to drink with him, but refused to pay for it thereafter. He convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin, claiming he’d by the drink with it.But he didn’t and kept the coin in his pocket. When he got home, he kept it close to a silver cross so the devil couldn’t reshape. He made a deal with the devil: he’d be free if he promised to leave Jack alone for a year and that if he died, the devil wouldn’t take his soul as his own. After a year, Jack tricked him again, for the exact same promise. So, when he died, God didn’t want him in heaven and the devil wouldn’t accept him into hell. He got sent off into the night, having only a burning coal to light his path. It put it in a carved-out turnip and roams the earth ever since. People in Ireland and Scotland therefore began creating their own creations of Jack’s lanterns. They used turnips, beets and potatoes. Eventually the tradition travelled to the US and people began using pumpkins instead.
2. Candy corn’s original name
Originally, it was called Chicken Feed. Many argue that candy corn tastes like chicken feed, but that’s not the reason why it carried that name at first. Corn is what was used to feed the chickens, so the creators called it ‘Chicken Feed’. The box was even marked with a colourful rooster at the time.
3. The origin of trick-or-treating
Like several other Halloween traditions/activities, this one can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the rituals of Samhain. People believed that phantoms walked the earth on the night of Samhain, so people dressed up in costumes, hoping to repel the spirits. The Catholic Church displaced pagan festivals with their own holidays (like All Souls’ Day). The Act of ‘souling’ became popular and poor children and adults dressed up as spirits and would go door-to-door, accepting food in exchange for prayers.
4. Halloween folklore is filled with fortune-telling and magic
Old English folklore about Halloween is filled with superstitions and fortune-telling. It still lingers today. You know, like bobbing for apples or avoiding black cats (which is incredibly stupid in my opinion). One says that if a young unmarried person walks down the stairs, backwards, in the middle of the night whilst holding a mirror, the face that’s shown in the mirror will be their next lover.
5. Day(s) of the Dead
This day should officially be called Days of the Dead. It originates from Dia de los Muertos, taking place on October 31 through November 2 in Mexico, and a few other Hispanic countries. November 1st, Dia de los Inocentes, is a day to honour the children that died. The family members decorate the graves with baby’s breath and white orchids. On November 2nd, Dia de los Muertos, families honour adults who died, placing orange marigolds on grave sites.
6. Michael Myers’ mask isn’t what it seems
We all know the psychotic Michael Myers in his iconic pale-faced mask. However, the classic 1978 horror film Halloween was filmed on a very tight budget. The crew had to use the cheapest mask they could find: a $2 Star Trek Captain James Kirk mask. So, William Shatner’s mask was spray painted white and had reshaped eye holes. And Michael Myers was born.
7. Where does Halloween originate from?
According to History.com, the Halloween we know can be traced back to the ancient Celtic end-of-harvest festival of Samhain. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory II decreed November 1st as All Saints’ Day and was also called All Hallows. The night before was called All Hallows’ Eve. Sounds a bit like an earlier form of Halloween, doesn’t it?
8. The true meaning of decorating with black and orange
Orange is seen throughout autumn. Moreover with the leaves changing colour. It’s also a symbol of strength and endurance, whereas black is typically the colour of death. The Celtics may have been the first people to use this colour combination to gain strength for the long winter ahead, and to celebrate the dead during the Samhain holiday.
9. Halloween symbols
Spiders, bats and yes, sadly (here we go again) black cats are all Halloween symbols because of their spooky history and ties to Wiccans. All three were connected to witches, being their familiars in the middle ages. Sadly, they’re often associated with bad luck. Bats are even further connected to Halloween. How? By the ancient Samhain ritual of building a bonfire, which was meant to get rid of insects and somehow attracted bats.
10. Full moon on Halloween
There’s only a full moon on Halloween three or four times per century. Ot roughly occurs only once every 19 years, is what some people claim. Which, calculated using Greenwich Mean Time, is the earlier mentioned number per century. A full moon is expected for this year’s Halloween! So, be ready for the werewolves to come 😉
Love, Deem ❤
Images source: Pexels