Halloween. Odds are, you think of it as one of the best holidays of the year. If you really stop to think about Halloween and all the bizarre traditions that go along with this beloved holiday, however, you may start to actually wonder…where in the world did all these crazy traditions come from? Costumes, monsters, trick or treating, jack-o-lanterns…well, all this batty stuff had to start somewhere, right? Here are 10 things about Halloween that we’ll bet you didn’t know!
Halloween costumes weren’t always worn for fun. Halloween likely originated from the Celtic pagan celebration known as Samhain. During Samhain, the superstitious people of this period believed that the recently deceased would come back as spirits to roam the earth during All Hallows Eve. Worried that amongst these spirits may be a few evil spirits as well; the locals would dress up in scary costumes as an attempt to keep any malevolent ghosts at bay. In those days, it wasn’t like you could just go online to Halloween Express and order up a great costume to get the job done–thus, cow hides, animal skins and handcrafted masks were the rudimentary costumes they used.
Halloween is BIG business. Second only to Christmas, Halloween is the biggest grossing holiday of the year when it comes to shelling out the shekels. Approximately 8 billion dollars will be spent this Halloween, with over 2.6 billion dollars being spent on Halloween costumes alone and plenty more being shelled out for trick or treat candy. 330 million bucks will be spent just on pet costumes!
Being scared can actually feel really, really, good. During the Halloween season, more than any other time of the year, normal everyday folks across the country will try to scare themselves on purpose. Horror movies and haunted attractions will pop up in local communities and folks will flock to attend these events with great excitement. The truth is that scientific evidence has shown that for some folks, getting scared in a safe environment can be not only pleasurable, but also pretty darn euphoric.
Candy, candy, and more candy. Trick or treat candy is a hugely important part of Halloween celebrating. October 28th is the day of the year that has the highest number of candy sales, which can obviously be attributed to getting ready for Halloween celebrating. Any guesses as to what the most popular variety of trick or treat candy might be? Apparently, you can never go wrong with Snickers.
The birthplace of Halloween is Ireland. Halloween likely evolved from the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain, which in very ancient days was a ritualistic festival that honored the pagan gods of the harvest.
The most popular Halloween costume is the Witch. Move over Miley, because this chick has you outnumbered. Come Halloween night, there will be over 6 million witches running around! Pop culture favorites come and go as trendy Halloween costume choices every year, but the Witch still reigns supreme and continues to hold her spot as numero uno. Other classic costume choices round out the top ranks, including vampires, pirates, zombies, cats, princesses and superheroes.
The first Jack-o-Lanterns were not even made from pumpkins. Back thousands of years ago in the Celtic lands, simple lanterns were carved out of turnips, and these lanterns were sometimes adorned with frightful and spooky faces, which were thought to scare away evil spirits that might be out and about on All Hallows Eve.
Got Ghosts? If you want to sell a house that you think may be haunted, be aware that about half the states in the U.S. have laws that regulate what real estate agents refer to as “stigmatized properties.” Residences that have been the site of murder, suicide, serious diseases and yes, even potential ghosts or paranormal activities could all be considered to be stigmatized, which essentially means that for one reason or another, a buyer might have good reason to be nervous about purchasing them.
“Halloween,” the horror movie blockbuster, was actually made on an extremely low budget. In fact, this 1978 classic was originally turned down by several major studios and eventually was made independently. The infamous Michael Meyers mask was created when the prop people from the movie went to a local Halloween store and bought the cheapest mask they could find. The mask turned out to be a Star Trek William Shatner mask. Once spray painted white and with the eye holes appropriately reshaped, a horror character legend was born. “Halloween” was filmed on a less than 320 thousand dollar budget, but to date this film has brought in well over 60 million dollars worldwide.
Most grown ups DO celebrate Halloween. Two out of three adults will participate in some form of Halloween celebrating, whether it is by attending a party, dressing up in a costume for work, or even by attending a haunted attraction. Halloween has definitely gone way beyond trick or treating when it comes to having a great time and you do not have to be a kid in order to have fun. Adults also really like Halloween because in addition to all the parties and other fanfare, Halloween can also be celebrated without any relatives involved, and you definitely don’t have to have a date to have fun! The very best part about Halloween is that you can dress up as whatever you want!