Trick-or-treating has existed since medieval times. Back then, it was known as “guising” in Scotland and Ireland. Young people dressed up in costumes and went door-to-door looking for food or money in exchange for songs, poems or other “tricks” they performed. Today, the tradition has morphed into children to getting dressed up and asking for candy. Hardly anyone performs for their candy these days.
Sugar rationing during World War II halted trick-or-treating. Because of the shortage of sweet food, trick-or-treating wasn’t as big of a deal during WWII. After the rationing ended, candy companies began launching advertising campaigns to cash in on the ritual.
The Irish brought us jack-o’-lanterns. As the story goes, an Irish man named Stingy Jack tricked the devil and therefore was not allowed into heaven or hell — so he spent his days roaming the Earth, carrying a lantern, and went by “Jack of the Lantern.”
Jack-o’-lanterns used to be carved out of turnips, potatoes and beets. Once Halloween became popular in America, people used pumpkins instead.
Disney almost made Hocus Pocus a completely different movie. The original title, “Disney’s Halloween House”, also went along with a much darker and scarier script according to IMDB. Not only that, but Leonardo DiCaprio was to play teenage heartthrob Max Dennison, but he turned it down to appear in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” instead.
Candy corn was originally called “chicken feed.”
Just 15 pieces of Candy Corn equal 110 calories and 22 grams of sugar.
A city in Canada banned teens over 16 from trick-or-treating. According to CBC, anyone over the age of 16 caught trick-or-treating in Bathurst, Canada, faces up to a $200 fine. The city also has a curfew for everyone, so even those under 16 aren’t allowed out after 8 p.m. on Halloween.
Some shelters used to suspend black cat adoptions for Halloween. They feared that the animals were in danger from satanic cults that wanted them for nefarious purposes in the days leading up to Halloween. Now though, shelters have gone in the opposite direction. Many even promote black cat adoptions in October, using the pre-adoption screening and interview process to weed out anyone with the wrong intentions.
Candy wasn’t given out to trick-or-treaters until the 1950s. Rather pieces of cake, fruit, nuts, coins, and little toys. It wasn’t until the 1950s, when candy companies began to promote their goods for Halloween, that candy became a staple for trick-or-treating.
In Hollywood, using Silly String on Halloween can get you a $1,000 fine.
Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
The first known mention of trick-or-treating in print in North America was in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, Canada. Trick-or-treating wouldn’t be mentioned in print in the US until the 1930s.
Why black and orange? 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.
Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.
Harry Houdini died in 1926 on Halloween night as a result of appendicitis brought on by three stomach punches.
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.
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.
During the pre-Halloween celebration of Samhain, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Often Druid priests would throw the bones of cattle into the flames and, hence, “bone fire” became “bonfire.”
In 1974, eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan died of cyanide poisoning after eating Halloween candy. Investigators later learned that his father had taken out a $20,000 life insurance policy on each of his children and that he had poisoned his own son and also attempted to poison his daughter.
Teng Chieh or the Lantern Festival is one Halloween festival in China. Lanterns shaped like dragons and other animals are hung around houses and streets to help guide the spirits back to their earthly homes. To honor their deceased loved ones, family members leave food and water by the portraits of their ancestors.
Both Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota are the self-proclaimed Halloween capitals of the world.
Boston, Massachusetts, holds the record for the most Jack O’Lanterns lit at once (30,128).
The movie Halloween was originally titled “Babysitter Murders”.
The sounds of stabbing in the Halloween movie is made by a knife being plunged into a watermelon.