Every October, a large segment of our population is simply enthralled with having the living spook scared out of them and with Halloween rapidly approaching, we thought it would be ghoulishly appropriate to share some frightening fun facts about our fascination with All Hallows’ Eve.
Halloween is believed to have originated in Ireland with the ancient Celtic Festival known as Samhain (pronounced säwėn), which is celebrated on November 1st. However, the night before Samhain, (October 31) the Celtic people believed that the dead returned as Ghosts to roam the countryside. Villagers left food and wine on their doorsteps to keep the Ghosts at bay, and when the villagers left their homes, they wore masks so the dead would mistake them for fellow Ghosts.
In the 8th Century, the Christian Church turned Samhain into All Saints Day. October 31, or All Saints Eve had evolved into Halloween or Hallowe’en, also known as Allhalloween or All Hollows’ Eve. Observances encompass All Saints’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints Day (All Hallows) and All Souls’ Day which last from October 31 to November 2 annually. Each of these observances stem from Allhallowtide, which is a time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints and all faithful departed Christians.
In Medieval Britain, the tradition of “Souling” began on All Souls Day (November 2nd) in which the needy would beg for pastry know as soul cakes and in return they would pray for people’s dead relatives. As time passed, the practice of “Souling” evolved into “Guising” where young people would dress up in costume and accept food, wine, money, and other offerings in exchange for singing, reciting poetry or telling stories or jokes. In the 19th Century, Irish immigrants instituted the tradition of dressing up in costume in America. In the 1950’s the tradition of Trick or Treating went mainstream with a whole new generation.
According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween is the second highest grossing holiday after Christmas and Nielson Research reports that nearly 600-million pounds of candy is purchased each Halloween. Halloween spending also extends to costume purchases of nearly $2.6 billion… adult costume purchases rack up to nearly $1.22 billion, kids costumes $1.04 billion, and millions are spent each year on pet costumes. Let’s not forget all the life-size skeletons, blow-up monsters, fake cob webs, mantle pieces and other scary decorations, which average around $1.96 billion annually. We spend approximately $360 million on Halloween related greeting cards and there is an annual spike in alcohol purchases in the days preceding Halloween.
Want to have a little spooky fun? Try these Halloween related activities:
- Halloween Name Generators:
- Not Too Scary Stories for Kids:
- Best Horror Movies of 2017
- Best Horror Podcasts
- Pinterest Best Halloween Pranks