Spooky Facts about Halloween
By Megan Morrow
Published October 21, 2019
Witches, Jack o’ lanterns and ghosts—all light the sky and the streets this time of year as trick or treaters of all ages celebrate Halloween. While today’s traditions are often more about treats than tricks, the origins of the holiday are sometimes a little spooky.
While preparing your favorite ghost stories this year, consider these frightening facts about Halloween and its origins:
- Most animal shelters will no longer allow people to adopt black cats on or near Halloween as a means of protecting them (a long-time myth dating back to the Middle Ages connects black cats to witches).
- Rumor has it that if you want to see a witch on Halloween, you should wear your clothes inside out, walk backward and then keep your eyes peeled at midnight.
- The practice of trick-or-treating dates back to the Celtic tradition of setting out food to soothe the spirits roaming the night during Samhain, a festival commemorating the end of the Celtic calendar year. It was halted briefly during the 1940s due to war-time rationing of sugar.
- Folklore suggests that if a bat flies into your house on Halloween, you must live in a haunted house since ghosts are responsible for welcoming in bats.
- The traditional colors of black and orange date back to Halloween’s Celtic origins – black represents the death of summer while orange represents the harvest season.
- Famous magician Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926 – however, witches and ghosts had nothing to do with it: He died of appendicitis after being punched in the stomach. To this day, followers hold a séance in hopes of reconnecting with the magician.
- About one-fifth of Americans will visit a haunted house each year, according to the National Retail Federation.
This final Halloween fact is part amazing, part scary: The largest recorded pumpkin ever grown weighed a whopping 2,528 pounds! And if all of these facts have you a little frightened, “samhainophobia” is the name for fear of Halloween.
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