Halloween – Fun facts

Over the centuries, Halloween has transitioned from a pagan ritual to a day of parties, dressing up and trick or treat pranks. Here we  look at some fun facts.

  • The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” Wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to  popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night
  • The very first Jack-o-lanterns were in fact made from turnips
  • The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with a 836 lb. pumpkin
  • The tradition of dressing up in costumes on Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtics. They believed that by dressing up as spirits and demons they would blend in with the real spirits and demons roaming the streets and would be safe.
  • The Christian roots of trick-or-treating are different than the Celtic roots. They called it ‘souling’ which was a medieval Christian ritual of going door to door, exchanging prayers for the dead for soul cakes.
  • The fear of Halloween is called “Samhainophobia”
  • Commercially, Halloween is second only to Christmas in the amount of money spent.
  • Black and orange are typically the colours associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.
  • Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
  • Here’s an odd one. Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.
  • According to 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.
  • Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years
  • Owls were once believed to be witches. An owl’s call was thought to mean someone was going to die. This was a popular belief in Medieval Europe.
  • Harry Houdini, possibly the most famous magician in history, died on Halloween night in 1926. His death was the result of three stomach punches that brought on appendicitis.
  • The majority of children, 50%, prefer to get chocolate in their trick-or-treat bags on Halloween.

Read more in the Autumn magazine

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