10 Halloween fun facts

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Get ready for trick-or-treating in your neighborhood with these tidbits of information.

Grower John Hawkley and master of ceremonies Cameron Palmer (left to right) celebrate on stage at the 41st Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off  in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Hawkley won with a 2,058 lb. pumpkin and set a new North American record. (AP Photo/Alex Washburn)
Grower John Hawkley with his 2,058 lb. pumpkin, which set a new North American record. (AP Photo/Alex Washburn)
  • The name Halloween comes from a shortening of the holiday’s former title: All Hallow’s Evening, which was the night before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day, or Hallowmas on November 1.
  • Halloween originated from a Samhain, Ireland’s Celtic festival, which celebrates the end of the harvest season.
  • Building off the name of the crop-gathering commemoration, the fear of Halloween is called Samhainophobia.
  • The act of carving Jack-o’-Lanterns is a little more spooky than you might assume. It developed from a ghastly Celtic folklore. A drunken farmer named Jack tricked the devil but then he wasn’t allowed into either heaven and hell. Stuck in this ethereal limbo, Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal that the devil threw from hell. So Celts placed Jack-o’-Lanterns with frightening faces outside to scare evil spirits away.
  • People kept carving faces into hollowed-out turnips, but when the Irish potato famine of 1846 forced families to flee to North America, turnips were hard to come by. People kept the tradition alive by using pumpkins as a substitute.
  • Chocolate makes up about three-quarters of a trick-or-treater’s plunder, according to the National Confectioners Association.
  • Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
  • Halloween has had various nicknames through the ages: All Hallows’ Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool,Snap-Apple Night, Samhain and Summer’s End.
  • Both Salem, Mass., and Anoka, Minn., are the self-proclaimed Halloween capitals of the world.
  • Grower John Hawkley grew the biggest gourd at the 41st Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Hawkley won with a 2,058 lb. pumpkin and set a new North American record.

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