- Holidays and Celebrations
Fun Facts About Halloween
Did you know?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 41 million potential trick-or-treaters (kids aged 5-14) in the country. That's a lot of little sugar fiends out there! There are 116.7 million houses for those kids to visit, most giving out candy made at one of the 1,586 candy factories in the United States.
Over 1.1 billions pounds of pumpkins are harvested each year for our jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pies. The state with the most gourds harvested is Illinois with 427 million pounds of pumpkins.
Among all the Halloween and monster-themed music, some of the most popular include "This is Halloween" from the Tim Burton film Nightmare Before Christmas. "Monster Mash" from 1962 is another top pick, despite it being banned initially in the UK for its morbid subject matter. But let's not forget Michael Jackson's iconic "Thriller" released in 1983. The video has been described as the most influential pop video of all time and one of the longest, too, at 14 minutes.
History and Origins
Halloween dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago when Samhain (pronounced sow-an) marked the harvest and included a Festival of the Dead. The holiday became associated with the Christian All Hallows Eve in the 8th century, the name of which is the source of our modern word "Halloween".
The tradition of carving turnips to make lanterns started in Ireland and Scotland, but immigrants to the New World began using the local pumpkins which were larger and easier to carve.
Dressing up in costume and going door-to-door is a tradition that started in the Middle Ages and pulling pranks around All Hallows Eve was a well-known custom as early as the 18th century. So, it seems trick-or-treating has been around for some time!
Currently, Halloween is celebrated mostly in parts of the world that have a strong Western influence. Some dislike the commercialism that is associated with the holiday while others reject it entirely as an exercise in hedonism. But there will always be those who embrace the Halloween spirit and take part in the traditions that have developed around it.
On Halloween, a person can become anything-- princess, zombie or cat. Children and grown ups alike delight in dressing and pretending that, for one day at least, all things are possible.