Halloween is one of the oldest holidays in our world. It’s celebrated all across the globe and while the popular festivities of today are a bit different from the original practices, the concepts remain the same for the most part.
Whether it’s horror movie marathons, scampering around the neighborhood in search of that one mythical house that gives out full-size candy bars or simply spending all October whipping up awesome artwork and decorating your house to look like a Samhain temple, there’s a little bit of something for everyone during this wonderful time of year. That being said, there’s also quite a few fun facts that you may not be aware of. So, on this early frost-kissed morning here in Wisconsin, I’d like to share a few pieces of information that I’ve always found interesting about our favorite holiday.
Often used as a negative term these days, the word “witch” actually is quite the compliment when used properly. The word comes from the Old English term ‘wicce’, meaning “wise woman”. Wiccan were actually highly respected people in the beginning of Halloween history.
Harry Houdini, one of the most famous magicians ever, was also an incredibly interesting man who dabbled in the occult and paranormal investigation. He died on Halloween night, in 1926, of appendicitis following three fatal gut punches.
Dressing up as a cretin on Halloween night is nothing new. The practice actually began with the ancient Celtics, who would don the attire in hopes of disguising themselves from actual demons and the like. The hope was that if they dressed like the entities they were trying to avoid, the real demons would leave them alone.
Halloween’s origins can be traced back over 6,000 years. There are nods to the holiday all throughout history and it’s been confirmed that the roots of the holiday actually start in Ireland, all the way back to the Druids.
Sure, everyone knows Salem, Massachusetts is the ultimate spooky Halloween town, right? Not if residents of Anoka, Minnesota have anything to say about it. Anoka is widely believed to be the first US city to put on a Halloween celebration in the hopes of keeping kids off the street and vandalizing. In 1920, town leaders including George Green, decided on the giant festival to keep cows from being let out of pens and outhouses from being tipped over by the local youth.
Afraid of spiders? Consider them a good omen on Halloween night. It’s believed that if you see one of our eight-legged friends on this night, a loved one is watching over you.
Bats are one of the most recognizable symbols for our beloved holiday. They have a pretty simple connection to the holiday – when the ancient Celts were holding their enormous bonfires on the sacred night, the little creatures would be attracted to the light.
Trick ‘r treating took a massive hit in America during the 1940’s when war-time rationing all but put a halt on the use of sugar for such unnecessary things are candy. Thankfully, the tradition started up again when the rationing ended in 1947. Popular children’s comics and radio shows like the Peanuts comic strip and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet helped ramp up the popularity in the candy-getting fun.
Halloween is recognized as the third largest party day of the American year, right behind New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday. As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I can attest that most Super Bowl Sundays in my life have been downright terrifying, much like Halloween. Except for last year. Because we won the Super Bowl. Go Birds.
Do you know what the first name was for candy corn? “Chicken Feed”, because back then, corn was most commonly used as food for the farm animals. Makes sense, seeing as how a human shouldn’t eat chicken feed or those disgusting waxy candies. Fight me about it!
For a holiday so steeped in mysterious, ooky spookiness, Halloween rarely features a full moon. Most recently, there was one in 1955, 2001 and the next one comes in 2020!
In Alabama, it’s illegal to dress up as a priest for Halloween. I’ll refrain from any Alabama-related jokes here.
In the UK, it’s white cats people avoid as opposed to black cats that have gotten a bum rap in America for far too long. One thing we can all agree on – all cats are assholes but none of them are evil.