Halloweens History And Fun Facts

Dated: 10/31/2018

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                GroupWatson would like to wish you all a happy and safe Halloween! Here’s some interesting history and the holiday’s origins and a few fun facts to share at your next costume party. Enjoy!

                Halloween began as a Celtic festival, celebrated by the early pagans in northwestern Europe. It was believed that on this day, 10/31, and New Year's Eve at that time, the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead were blurred, allowing the dead to walk the earth again. The cold seasons of fall and winter were associated with human death. It was also believed that the spirits enabled the Druids (Celtic priests) to predict the future. The Celtics lit bonfires to burn sacrifices of crops and animals, and then wore animal skin costumes, while attempting to predict the future. There were some who also believed in wearing masks so that returning ghosts could not recognize them.

The Roman festival of Feralia also commemorated the passing of the dead in late October. Another Roman festival celebrated Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees, symbolized by the apple. Early in the 1st century, the Romans conquered the Celtics and these festivals and traditions began to combine.

In the middle of the 1st century, the Catholic All-Saints Day was moved from May to November 1st by Pope Gregory III. All Souls Day was celebrated on November 2nd to honor the dead, with bonfires and costumes, very similar to Samhain. All Souls Day was also referred to as All-hallows or All-hallowmas. As Christian influence spread to the Celtic region, Samhain celebration merged with All-hallows and the new celebrations on November 1st were referred to as All Hallows Eve, and eventually, Halloween.

Halloween was not popular in the American colonies at first, since the early settlers were strict Protestants. There were occasional small celebrations with "play parties," ghost stories, and mischief. However, when Irish immigrants fled to the new land during the Irish Potato Famine, they brought some of the Halloween traditions with them. This included a belief that young women could predict the name of their future husband by doing tricks, and the tradition of going door to door asking for money or food. These celebrations became more community-focused in the late 19th century, and then pressure from parents and religious groups to remove the scary and grotesque traditions and images resulted in a decline of the older superstitions and paved the way for the secular but festive holiday we know today. In the early 20th century, trick or treating returned and was encouraged as an inexpensive way for children to participate in the fun.

Fun facts:

  • 1/4 of the candy sold in the US is for Halloween.

  • Halloween is the 2nd biggest commercial holiday in America, with an estimated $6 billion spent.

  • Candy Corn was invented in the 1880's.

  • 3/4 of trick or treat candy is chocolate.

  • Turnips were the original Jack-o-lanterns in Ireland and Scotland, but pumpkins were more available in the U.S.

  • The scary mask used inHalloweenwas a $2 William Shatner Star Trek mask, spray painted white.


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Scott Watson

Scott and Tammy Watson are the Owners and Team Leads for GroupWatson, Keller Williams. With 47 years of combined real estate experience, a "Client First Philosophy" is exemplified by providing excepti....

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