It’s October 31st which, as we all know, means we have to dress up as something scary and terrorise our neighbours by shouting, “Trick or Treat!” Rather than deliver a blog on scary entertainment – you can already have a read about that in previous blogs we have done here, here and here – we thought that today, we’d give you some interesting spooky about Hallowe’en!
Hallowe’en is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas. Take that, Valentine’s Day! Honestly we thought Easter might be higher as well but all of those pumpkins really do seem to add up.
According to Irish Legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a man called Jack, who was known for being able to trick the Devil. Having done so several times, he was forbidden entrance into both Heaven and Hell, with God presumably showing some solidarity to Lucifer for reasons unknown. As such, Jack is condemned to wander Earth, waving his lantern, which leads people away from their path in life. Ooh err!
Samhainophobia is the fear of Hallowe’en. And also Sam Hain, presumably, whoever he may be. We’re just joking Sam Hain. The reason Samhainophobia is the fear of Hallowe’en is because the precursor to this most scary of nights was actually the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. So now you know!
Stephen Clarke holds the record for the world’s fastest pumpkin carving of nose, eyes, ears and mouth, slicing up the fruit in just 24.03 seconds. Note, that’s Stephen Clarke and not Sternberg Clarke, though we feel we could give the competition a good go.
World famous magician Harry Houdini died on the evening of Halloween 1926. He was punched three times in the stomach and died of appendicitis a few days later.
If a person wears their clothes (or costume!) inside out and then walks backwards on Hallowe’en – alas we don’t know how long for- then they will see a witch at midnight. Ooh!
The origins of Hallowe’en are rooted in Ireland with the aforementioned Samhain festival. Dressing up as ghosts or ghouls originally began because the townsfolk believed that disguising themselves so convincingly would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits walking the streets at that time of year.
In the UK and Ireland, Bonfire Night occurs just a week after Hallowe’en. Some believe that this is also a successor to Samhain with druids traditionally lighting a bonfire during the festival in order to ensure the sun would return following a long winter. Druid priests would throw bones onto the fire hence its name – bonefire or bonfire.
A truly horrible Hallowe’en fact this one: In 1974, an 8 year old boy died from cyanide poisoning after eating his Trick or Treat sweets. Investigators later discovered that the boy’s father had taken out an insurance policy on his children and had poisoned his son as well as attempting to kill his daughter as well.
Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Hallowe’en than at any other time of year. So have fun but be safe!
You might be thinking that although Hallowe’en might have started in Ireland, there can’t have been too many pumpkins about. You’d be right! Initially, a Jack O’Lantern was carved from a turnip, which is actually way easier to carve (if you fancy giving it a go).
There was one a time when adoption shelters wouldn’t allow black cats to be adopted around Hallowe’en for fear that they would be sacrificed. This idea is not quite as strong as it once was however, thanks largely to the fact that the vast majority of people are far more likely to care for a pet than sacrifice one.
Although you’ll see it in many horror movies, a full moon on Hallowe’en is extremely rare. It last happened in 2001 and the next Hallowe’en full moon will be in 2085. Don’t be too saddened though, as there are four times before then that the full moon occurs on October 30th, with the next occurrence in 2020.