On the 31st of October, many countries all over the globe will celebrate Halloween. Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, which was celebrated by the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. They believe that the new year begins on November 1. Later, the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed on that date, which marked the start of the winter season. Moreover, people believed they might encounter ghosts if they left their homes on Halloween. It was believed that ghosts returned to the earthly world during Halloween. Therefore, people would wear masks when leaving their homes after dark to avoid being recognized by the ghosts, so that they would be mistaken for fellow spirits.
Today, many people celebrate Halloween as a fun holiday with various unique costumes. However, there are spooky facts about Halloween that you probably didn’t know. Before you celebrate the Halloween party with your best costume, it will be great to know spooky facts about Halloween. Get ready to be surprised with the dark mystery of Halloween because those amazing facts will surely blow your mind.
1. Vampire Origin Story
Vampires are malevolent legendary creatures that prowl the world at night in pursuit of people to feed on their blood. They may be the most well-known of all the classic Halloween monsters. Vampires are most commonly associated with Count Dracula, the famous, blood-sucking protagonist of Bram Stoker’s epic novel Dracula, published in 1897. Vampires, on the other hand, have a long history dating back to before Stoker was born.
In fact, Count Dracula is considered to have been named after Vlad Dracul, commonly known as Vlad the Impaler, by Bram Stoker. Vlad Dracul was born in the Romanian province of Transylvania. From 1456 to 1462, he controlled Walachia, Romania, on and off. Vampires usually use their sharp teeth to drain the blood of their victims, killing them and turning them into vampires.
2. Behind The Trick or Treat
On Halloween night, children dressed in costumes set out to demand treats by ringing doorbells. Although the trick or treat roots are unknown, this medieval ritual can be traced back to ancient Celtic feasts. During some Celtic Samhain celebrations, villagers dressed up in costumes to scare away ghost guests. To appease undesirable spirits, banquet tables were set up and food was placed out. In 1,000 A.D., people began dressing up as ghosts, devils, and other malicious creatures in the following centuries, performing antics in return for food and drink. This is considered to be a beginning to trick-or-treating.
In England, the poor would pay visits to wealthy households and obtain soul cakes in exchange for a vow to pray for the souls of the homeowners’ deceased relatives. Later, it was adopted by youngsters, who would go door to door asking for food, money, and ale. Meanwhile, young people in Scotland and Ireland participated in a practice known as guising, which involved dressing up in costume and obtaining gifts from other houses. Instead of promising to pray for the dead, they would sing a song, read a poem, tell a joke, or do another “trick” before receiving their reward, which was usually fruit, nuts, or cash.
3. Finding a Husband In Halloween Rituals
Single females created Halloween traditions in the 18th century in the hopes of finding a love partner. Women would throw apple peels over their shoulder, hoping to see their future husband’s initials in the pattern when they landed. Later, they looked at egg yolks floating in a basin of water and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms to learn about their destinies. In the dark room, they will hold candles and stare over their shoulders for their spouses’ faces, which adds to the eerie atmosphere.
In Scotland, fortune-tellers advised an eligible young woman to name each of her suitors a hazelnut and then hurl the nuts into the fireplace. According to legend, the nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding symbolized the girl’s future husband. Meanwhile another certain version mentioned that the nut that burned away indicated a love that would not last.
4. Jack-O-Lanterns Represent the Lost Spirit of Stingy Jack
In fact, Jack-O-Lanterns originated in Ireland. This is definitely the ultimate and popular Halloween decoration. Behind its popularity, there is a spooky story behind it. Around 300 years ago, the practice of carving Jack-O-Lanterns began in Ireland. However, pumpkins were not always used to carve Jack-O-Lanterns. They used to be carved out of turnips and other root crops by the Irish.
The tradition comes from a guy named Jack or the Stingy Jack, according to Irish legend. This Jack had deceived the Devil so many times that he was barred from both Heaven and Hell. Instead, Jack was forced to wander Earth as a ghost until the end of time. Since then, Jack has been traversing the Earth with the coal in a carved-out turnip. This phantom apparition became known as “Jack of the Lantern,” and eventually just “Jack-O-Lantern” among the Irish.
5. Halloween Song Banned In UK Because It Is Too Scary
The Monster Mash was famous as the Halloween tune. It’s creepy, catchy, and just like the Halloween outfit, it took less than an hour to put together. However, the BBC banned the successful song from airplay in 1962 because it was “too morbid.” In the United Kingdom, this perennial Halloween favorite didn’t become a “graveyard smash” until it was rereleased in 1973. It reached number three in the UK charts that year, and number ten on the Billboard charts once more.
6. The Idea of Halloween Costumes Originated from Samhain
Halloween costume origins can be traced back to Samhain. The Samhain feast, which celebrated the end of the Celtic harvest season and the start of their winter, is at the very heart of Halloween costume’s history. Because winter was thought to be the “darker half” of the year, then November 1 was also thought to be the day the dead would return to haunt the earth. Therefore, people would dress up in ghost costumes before leaving their homes in an attempt to “fit in” with the dead. In addition, they leave food and drinks on their doorsteps in the hopes of pleasing the haunted spirits.
Furthermore, Celt were used to dress up as ghosts, usually wearing animal skins as their costume. In Scotland, they wore white with a veil or blackening of the face. Later, it became a habit for young people to dress up and perform at people’s doors in exchange for food or money after Medieval Britain adapted the Samhain feast and turned it into All Saints Day.
7. Exhuming The Dead to Stop Disease
The belief of ghosts and vampires at Halloween used to lead to other strange beliefs. It happened when the spread of tuberculosis used to claim the lives of entire families in New England during the nineteenth century. Hopeless peasants claimed that some of those who died from consumption preyed on their live family members. It happened before physicians could explain how infectious diseases propagated. Therefore, panicked citizens dug up bodies and conducted numerous rituals to stop a vampire attack and the disease from spreading. Not only that, but they’re also destroying interior organs.
In March 1892, in the Chestnut Hill cemetery in Exeter, Rhode Island, one such exhumation occurred. Locals brought shovels and picks and worked together to exhume the bodies of Mary Brown and her daughters, Mary Olive and Mercy Lena. Unfortunately, it had little effect on the other illnesses that affected the entire family.
8. The Great Depression Creates The Halloween Haunted House
Halloween had become a time for young men to let off steam and cause mischief in the years leading up to the Great Depression. They went too far at times. When hundreds of teenage boys overturned automobiles, sawed off telephone poles, and engaged in other acts of vandalism across the country in 1933, parents were outraged. People started calling that year’s Halloween “Black Halloween.” They referred to the stock market catastrophe four years prior as “Black Tuesday” in the same way.
Rather than prohibiting certain behaviors, several communities began planning Halloween activities to keep bored would-be pranksters engaged. As a result, haunted houses were built to keep them off the streets. In Europe, haunted or eerie public attractions were already commonplace. Marie Tussaud’s wax museum in London had a “Chamber of Horrors” featuring decapitated figures from the French Revolution beginning in the 1800s. A haunted house was first built in 1915 by a British amusement attraction maker, replete with dim lights, trembling floors, and demonic screams.
9. The Color Scheme of Orange and Black is Not Random
Have you ever wondered why the colors black and orange are so popular for Halloween? Orange is a popular color for Halloween, thanks to pumpkins and the changing foliage. It is also the color of fire and the autumn season, since the hue evokes harvest.
Meanwhile, black is associated with Samhain. The change from the lighter, warmer days of summer to the darker months ahead is marked by Halloween. Therefore, darkness is symbolized by the color black. Not to mention, Halloween has long been thought of as a nighttime holiday connected with the color black. Winter, as we all know, brings with it less light. As a result, the black represents what is to come, while the orange represents the hues of the season.
10. Pedestrian Accidents Increase on Halloween Night
With terrifying movies and décor, Halloween offers its share of horrors. However, people may not realize that pedestrian deaths have surged during trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Pedestrian fatalities are 43 percent higher on Halloween, according to a 2019 study that looked at four decades of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Moreover, this fatal accident happens continuously every year. Two pedestrians were hurt in a crash on Halloween night in 2021, which is one of the examples that happened in Virginia. Thomas Mitchell Moore hit two pedestrians in the 3200 block of Macdonald Road with a Ford F150. One pedestrian had minor injuries, while the other was in severe condition.
11. Bats are Linked to The Halloween
Because of Celtic harvest festival, bats have been associated with Halloween for hundreds of years. When bonfires are lit during celebrations, it will attract bug-eating bats. According to Nate Fuller, a PhD student in Boston University’s bat biology program, when Irish and Scottish immigrants arrived in the United States, people began to link bats with Samhain simply due to the timing. In fact, some bat species hibernate or migrate south for the winter. Therefore, you can see them swarming in the northern United States in October and November.
It may appear that the association between bats with spooky and bloody Halloween is unavoidable. Isn’t it true that bats are nocturnal and feed on blood? Well, not quite. In actuality, vampire bats are only divided into three species that feed largely on blood. Meanwhile, the remaining 1,300 species feed on insects, rodents, and nectar. This whole group received their Halloween connection from these vampire bats.
12. Harry Houdini Died On Halloween In 1926
In 1926, peritonitis caused by a perforated appendix killed the great magician, illusionist, and entertainer. Harry Houdiny became ill on the train to Detroit and was taken to the hospital after one final performance. Doctors tried everything they could to help him, but it didn’t work.
His system was poisoned by the ruptured appendix, and he died on October 31. Multiple contradictory reports surfaced at the time, as befitting a man of mystery. Some believe he was poisoned by a gang of enraged Spiritualists, while others claim his appendix burst as a result of a student striking him in the stomach.
13. Some Shelters Used To Suspend Black Cat Adoptions For Halloween
Black cats are commonly associated with Halloween as a frightening emblem. They have long been thought to bring bad luck and have been utilized in ceremonies. In 2019, some people claim that animal shelters prohibit black cat adoptions on All Hallows Eve because of these beliefs. Some shelters were worried that satanic cults would seek the animals for nefarious uses in the days running up to Halloween.
Therefore, shelters are now moving in the opposite direction. Every October, many organizations promote black cat adoptions. However, they utilize the pre-adoption screening and interview procedure to pick out anyone with bad intentions.
14. The Real Murder Behind The Halloween Movie
Based on the classic Broadway show, The Arsenic and Old Lace was released in 1944. The art was made from deep research of the criminal records of convicted murderer Amy Archer-Gilligan. The dark comedy, which took place on Halloween, following character’s revelation that his aunts had been covertly murdering renters at their boarding house. It’s a rather depressing subject for a comedy, especially since it’s based on true occurrences.
While working on Arsenic and Old Lace, writer Joseph Kesselring flew to Connecticut to look at court documents related to Amy Archer-Gilligan, a convicted killer who ran an elderly boarding house. When five of the remains were excavated, an autopsy proved that they had been poisoned with arsenic or strychnine Between 1908 and 1916, 66 persons died at that house.
15. The Secret of Michael Myers Mask
Michael Myers is a fictitious character from the slasher film franchise Halloween. In 1978’s Halloween, he makes his debut appearance as a small kid who murders his older sister, Judith Myers.
Of course, Michael Myers’ mask is one of horror’s most recognizable symbols. Lee Wallace, the production designer and editor, purchased the altered Captain Kirk mask for a few dollars at a random store on Hollywood Boulevard. Surprisingly, it was eventually used in the film.
16. Louisville Boy Accidentally Hangs Self During Halloween Prank
Horror pranks become true such as fake self hanging may sound like urban legend. However, it is regrettably a more common story than one may anticipate to scare at Halloween. On Halloween of 2012, one of the most recent of self hangings occurred. Jordan Morlan, a 16-year-old Louisville, Kentucky kid, slid his neck into a noose decoration in his front yard to scare his family.
Unfortunately, Morlan must have grown disoriented and lost consciousness once the noose tightened and squeezed against his windpipe and jugular. Later, Jordan was discovered in the front yard by his younger sister. Sadly, he died of organ failure barely 12 hours later.
17. Man and Daughter Get Burned While Carving Pumpkin
During Halloween, accidents involving sharp knives and recalcitrant gourds happen all the time when carving pumpkins. In 2015, a man and his girlfriend’s daughter were involved in an incident on Halloween. The mishap occurred when the dad decided to demonstrate to the girl how the pumpkin’s scooped-out insides looked.
He did this by inserting a grill lighter into the interior and lighting it. Later, the gasses from the lighter quickly piled up within the uncarved pumpkin, creating an explosive flash fire. Both the dad and the girl were burned in the first and second degrees on major sections of their bodies, including her face and right arm.
18. Child Wearing Lord of the Rings Costume Gets Severely Burned
In 2004, an unidentified boy was burned by a Lord of the Rings Ringwraith costume that lacked sufficient flame retardant characteristics. According to reports, when the outfit came into contact with a flame, it lit up almost instantly. His face was also seriously burned because the costume included a mesh face mask made of the same material.
Even if parents are aware of the dangers of fire and costumes, they may not realize how flammable and dangerous some costumes can be. Therefore, close-fitting costumes with no flowing sections are recommended by most safety experts. However, the costume industry frequently disregards this advice.