Happy Halloween to all my readers who celebrate the holiday. It was always a big deal in the Miller family, ranking as one of my husband’s favorites. He enjoyed sitting out on the porch in a cape with a hood and scaring the kids who came up the walk; always reserving the biggest scare for older kids and not toddlers who might be just getting accustomed to the whole notion of trick-or-treating.
There are a lot of places on the internet to find interesting, and perhaps not well known, facts about this holiday. I snagged the following from the Good Housekeeping website that has an article 25 Spooky & Fun Halloween Facts. I grabbed just a few to share here and encourage you to click over to the article at Good Housekeeping to read them all. But first:
The holiday dates back more than 2,000 years.
Halloween is even older than Christianity itself. It all started as a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain, which means “summer’s end.” Held around the first of November, the feast recognized the final day of the fall harvest and spirits crossing over, since they believed the veil between the living and spirit world were thinnest at that time.
Now Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the country.
It ranks second after only Christmas. Consumers spent approximately $9 billion on Halloween in 2019, according to the National Retail Federation. Spending was down a bit in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Americans still forked over $8 billion overall, or an average of $92 per person.
Skittles are the top Halloween candy.
No chocolate? No problem! The bite-sized fruit candies outranked M&M’s, Snickers and Reese’s Cups, according to 11 years of sales data from CandyStore.com. And even though candy corn made the top 10, the tricolored treats also ranked among the worst Halloween candies, according to a CandyStore.com survey. No wonder post-trick or treating candy trades can get so heated.
The fastest pumpkin carving only took 16.47 seconds.
Stephen Clarke of New York holds the Guinness Book of World Records distinction, having carved his speedy lantern in October 2013. In order to nab the title, the jack-o’-lantern had to contain a complete face, including eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. No word on what the face’s expression had to be.
Another site you might want to visit is The Fact-Retriever website. There’s an article there that has 57 Spooky and Fun Halloween Facts. Some are repeats of what’s in the other article, but there are others that are a bit more obscure. I grabbed just a few:
Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
“Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.
Mexico celebrates the Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) on the Christian holidays All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) instead of Halloween. The townspeople dress up like ghouls and parade down the street.
One of the things my husband and I always enjoyed about Halloween was seeing all the different costumes that kids wore. It seemed like many of them had gone to great lengths to be a super-hero or a princess or a movie star.
When I was a child, we didn’t spend weeks and weeks planning and making our costumes. More often, we would wait until the last minute, which limited our choices. My favorite costume, and the easiest to put together was a bum, or hobo – the term that was popular and acceptable back then. And the costume was easy to alter by adding a bit of straw to the flannel shirt. That could turn us into a scarecrow if we were tired of being a bum.
It was also easy to make a ghost costume, if your mother didn’t object to you cutting holes in one of her white bed-sheets. Holes were a necessity so we wouldn’t stumble around and never find the houses or the candy, but mothers were not always happy about us altering the sheets.
When my kids were little, I had great fun making costumes for them, always glad when they didn’t object to being a bunny or a cat. When they got older, they started putting their own costumes together, which was fine with me.
What was your favorite costume when you were young? Did you like to go out trick or treating? Do you have a favorite memory you’d like to share?