Halloween was not always scary or frightening as modern society would think it was. Sure, Halloween is based on a pagan tradition, but that did not mean everything they did was evil.
Halloween, or Hallow’s Eve, was a festive holiday that began as welcoming the coming autumn and winter season. Soon, they started praying for the dead and performing tasks in exchange for food.
Apples have a huge significance during Hallow’s Eve for the young and single ladies.
Here are 74 shocking Halloween facts that will give you goose bumps!
Shocking Halloween Facts: 1 – 4 | Name Facts
1. Halloween is a shortened version of All Hallow’s Evening or All Hallow’s Eve.
2. Halloween has been around for more than two thousand years.
3. While Halloween is known in the Western Christian world, Samhain is the pagan or non-Christian version of Halloween.
4. Other names for Halloween are Witches Night, Cabbage Night, Lambswool, Snap-Apple Night, and Summer’s End.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 5 – 11 | Halloween History
5. Halloween originated in Ireland, borrowing traditional influences from Gaelic festivals.
6. During Samhain, the leader of the Samhain parade will wear a white sheet with a decorated or wooden horse head.
7. Halloween is believed to have some influence from Pomona, a Roman festival that honors the Italian harvest goddess.
8. The first time the phrase trick-or-treating ever appear was from a newspaper in 1927 from Blackie, Alberta, Canada.
9. Since conservative Protestant England did not believe in Catholics and their saints, they associated Halloween with Guy Fawkes, since Guy Fawkes co-conspired to destroy the parliament to restore a Catholic king.
10. The story of jack-o-lantern comes from Stingy Jack, an Irish man who tricked the devil and was denied entry to both heaven and hell. He carried a lantern to lead you away from paths and was called “Jack of the lantern,” which eventually was shortened to Jack o’ lantern or jack-o-lantern.
11. The secular version of Stingy Jack was about a night watchman named Jack, who lit up all the street lanterns almost every night.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 12 – 18 | Halloween History
12. Jack-o’-lanterns were originally turnips, beets, and potatoes. When Halloween arrived in the West, Americans used pumpkins instead.
13. Full moons are often associated during Halloween, but there have only been a handful of Halloween nights where the moon is full. The recent ones were in 1955, 1972, and 2001. A full moon is predicted to happen on October 31, 2020.
14. Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, were unofficially declared as the “Halloween capital of the world.”
15. In Mexico, they celebrate Día de los Muertos along with Halloween; however, that was not always the case. History dictates that they celebrated Día de los Muertos at the beginning of summer and gradually moved the dates to match Halloween in the west.
16. In the Philippines, a predominantly Christian country, they learned of All Hallow’s Eve from Westerners and adapted it into their culture. On October 31, they celebrate Pangangaluluwa, where children go to sing and pray for those stuck in purgatory.
17. Bats are seen as Halloweens symbols because of the Samhain bonfires. The fires attract small insects, and the bats feast on the small insects.
18. In 1938, the Des Moines Register created a hilarious tradition called “Beggar’s Night” where kids are required to perform tricks (sing, dance, or tell jokes) to get their treat. This event was created so that kids can have a safe Halloween.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 19 – 27 | Tradition Origins
19. It is believed that people dress up to look like demons during All Hallow’s Eve so that the evil spirits would be confused and not harm the mortals.
20. The term “witch” comes from the Old English word “wicce,” which means “wise woman.”
21. Witches were seen as intelligent women and highly respected by their respective societies. It was not until an incident in history that “exposed” how witches were evil.
22. The fear of witches is called wiccaphobia.
23. Trick-or-treating originated from souling, which is the practice or ritual of asking for donations, mostly food, during All Hallow’s Eve.
24. The common items to give to soulers were nuts and fruits.
25. Aside from souling, children would dance, mum, or guise at wealthy families’ houses in an attempt to get donations other than nuts or fruits.
26. Souling was what inspired modern-day Christmas carolers.
27. Soulmass or soul cakes were given out to the children and the poor performing souling during All Hallow’s Eve.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 28 – 27 | Odd Traditions, Rituals and Beliefs
28. Apples were an important symbol not because they were in season during fall, but because they represented a woman’s fertility.
29. Bobbing for apples was more than a party game. Young and single ladies would compete who would get an apple first as they believe they will be the first to marry.
30. Another version would be that the young women would mark their apples, and the man who bobs and picks her apple would be matched.
31. Another popular traditional game for the unmarried ladies would be to peel an apple and throw the peels over their shoulders. If the peels formed a letter, that would be the initials of her future husband’s name.
32. Bloody Mary originated from another game for unmarried young ladies. The ladies have a chance to peek at their future husband’s face if they go to a dark room with nothing but a mirror and a candle. However, if they are not careful or if they are unlucky, they will be greeted with something sinister!
33. Another divination game for the women would be to choose a selection of hazelnuts. Each nut represented a potential partner, and they would toss it in an open fire. The nut that burned and did not pop would be her husband.
34. Another version of the hazelnut matchmaking game is that the hazelnut that burned represents how a man’s love will burn or fade away.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 35 – 41 | Odd Traditions, Rituals and Beliefs
35. Another ritual is, on All Hallow’s Eve, a young lady eating a confection made of walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg before bed would dream about her future spouse.
36. An American version of the matchmaking rituals is when unmarried youngsters would look at cabbage stumps to help determine their spouse.
37. A Scottish belief dictates that if you hang a wet sheet over a fire during All Hallow’s Eve, you will see a semblance of your future husband’s face.
38. If you see a spider during All Hallow’s Eve, a departed loved one is watching over you.
39. People feared owls as they were thought to be witches in disguise. If you hear the call of an owl on All Hallow’s Eve, it means someone close to you will die.
40. Black cats are seen as unlucky symbols because witches usually have black cats as familiars, so if you offend or hurt a witch’s familiar, you will be cursed by a witch.
41. In the earlier days, people would warn not to wear your clothes inside out and walking backward on All Hallow’s Eve, or else you will run into a witch.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 42-46 | Halloween Tragedies
42. Halloween decorations lately are becoming bright and cartoony due to the many incidents where freak accidents and suicides were seen as part of an elaborate Halloween prank.
43. In 1964, Helen Pfeil was found guilty handing out arsenic-laced goodies during Halloween to teenaged trick-or-treats who were deemed “too old” for Halloween.
44. In 1970, Kevin Toston died from a heroin-laced candy. The official investigation revealed that Kevin found his uncle’s heroin stash, and the family later added heroin to his candy to make it look like an accident.
45. In 1974, Timothy O’Bryan died from eating a cyanide-laced candy. Investigators discovered that Timonthy’s father took out a twenty-thousand-dollar life insurance on each of his children and even attempted to poison his own daughter.
46. The fear of finding poisoned candy during Halloween was unfounded mass hysteria due to the previous facts, but the public need not worry as these crimes were targeted towards specific individuals and not intended to harm people.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 47-54 | Shocking Statistics
47. During Halloween, children are twice as likely to be potentially harmed, kidnapped, or even killed.
48. Despite the normalization of children’s costume being ‘whatever they want to be’, most popular costumes for girls are still princesses, and the most popular costumes for boys are still superheroes.
49. According to eleven years of data, the most popular candy during Halloween is Skittles, M&M’s, Snickers, and Reese’s Cups.
50. At least 90 percent of parents take, sometimes secretly, some of their children’s candy to avoid health problems. Common problems are child obesity, cavities, and juvenile diabetes.
51. Halloween sells chocolate more times than it does on Valentine’s Day.
52. Halloween is the second highest-grossing holiday of the year, right after Christmas.
53. About 99 percent of pumpkins during Halloween is used for making jack-o-lanterns.
54. The Greenwich Village Halloween party has over two million visitors attending the annual party.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 55-62 | Strange Halloween Laws
55. A law in Dublin, Georgia, dictates that no one under the age of sixteen can wear masks in public during Halloween.
56. After the poisoning incident with Helen Pfeil, several states in the United States have banned children aged thirteen and up from trick-or-treating.
57. It is illegal to dress up as a priest or any other religious clerk during Halloween in Alabama.
58. Another law in Alabama doesn’t allow you to wear a fake mustache to church.
59. After 2014, it became illegal for anyone above the age of twelve to don clown makeup or costume during Halloween in Vendargues, France, due to a group of adults dressed up like clowns terrorizing the city.
60. In Hollywood, California, from October 31, 12:00 a.m. until November 1, 12:00 p.m., you are banned from using, selling, distributing, and possessing a can of silly string.
61. Halloween is banned in the entire country of Jordan, along with celebrating, attending, or doing any of the festive activities.
62. In the city of Rehoboth in Delaware, local authorities have ruled that if Halloween fell on a Sunday, they are only allowed to celebrate it on October 30, Saturday, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If caught, you may face a $150-dollar fine.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 63-68 | Miscellaneous Halloween Facts
63. Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926.
64. Every year on Halloween, Harry Houdini’s wife would perform a séance to contact him after death. She attempted for eight years before admitting that he had not made contact with her.
65. The fear of Halloween is called Samhainophobia.
66. Pumpkins are more than just orange, they can grow in colors of white, green, and even blue!
67. Candy corn was invented to appeal to the masses on how corn was food that was not limited to animal feed. It didn’t help much since the product was first called “Chicken Feed.”
68. The word “bonfire” came from druids when they would throw their dead cattle bones in the fire during Samhain. This act was called “bone fires,” which eventually became a bonfire.
Shocking Halloween Facts: 69-74 | Miscellaneous Halloween Facts
69. The top pumpkin producing states are Illinois, California, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
70. Hallmark, the card company, has noted that Halloween is the sixth most popular card-giving holiday.
71. Animal shelters would not hold any cat adoptions on Halloween night to prevent any animal abuse or death. Their screening and interview process become intense the weeks leading up to Halloween.
72. The 1993 Disney movie Hocus Pocus had a different story that was darker and scarier under a different movie title, “Halloween House.”
73. The fear of darkness is called nyctophobia.
74. Christians or Catholics don’t celebrate All Saints’ Day on October 31. In fact, they celebrate the holidays separately. All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day are celebrated on November 1 and 2, respectively.