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30 Fun Facts, Stats and Trivia About Halloween

Updated on October 24, 2014

Halloween...A Spooky Time For All

Halloween is a great time for everybody, it celebrates the coming of winter and the joy of candy. Being the second most commercial holiday of the year, everybody loves Halloween. This guide should give you a surprising insight into the celebrations of Halloween, such as shocking statistics, kooky celebrations and a few scares.

Let's dive in!

1. Halloween has several names including:

  • All Hallow's Eve
  • Summer's End
  • Lamswool
  • Samhain
  • Snap-Apple Night

The first Jack O Lanterns were made of turnips, not pumpkins.
The first Jack O Lanterns were made of turnips, not pumpkins. | Source

2. The first Jack O Lanterns weren't made from the traditional pumpkin but from turnips. Quite a twist there!

3. Halloween is scary for everybody, but for certain individuals it is a complete nightmare. They have a fear of Halloween (ironically). If someone has a fear or phobia of Halloween, they have "Samhainophobia". The "Samhain" comes from the Celtic word for Halloween.

5. Halloween celebrations in Hong Kong are known as "Feast of the Hungry Ghosts" or Yue Lan. During this celebration, people offer gifts of food to angry ghosts (that seek revenge) in an attempt to keep them happy and avoid revenge from the ghosts.

6. Halloween began over 6000 years ago, in 4000 BC.

7. The heaviest pumpkin ever measured was in 1993, with a 836 lb pumpkin, grown by Norm Craven.

8. In films and books, witches often fly across full moons causing a spooky silhouette whilst wolves howl at the full moon. However, a full moon during Halloween won't be coming anytime soon. The next full moon during Halloween will be in 2020.

9. Halloween is the second most commercial time of year, after Christmas. Over $2 billion dollars worth of candy is bought each year, leading to tremendous profits for candy makers.

10. In Hawaii, people often carve pineapples instead of pumpkins at Halloween time.

You get your pumpkins ready. Meanwhile, the Hawaiians will be carving their pineapples.
You get your pumpkins ready. Meanwhile, the Hawaiians will be carving their pineapples. | Source

11. The word "witch" comes from an Old English word called "wicce" meaning "wise woman".

Stare into this cat and you shall see...the future.
Stare into this cat and you shall see...the future.

12. Cats have a common place when it comes to Halloween imagery. Why are cats associated with Halloween or even, witches? During Celtic times, Samhain celebrations involved druids (priests) throwing cats into a fire. This was part of their "divination", so they could see into the future.

13. Some towns in the U.S have Halloween-themed names. Examples include Candy Town in Ohio and Spook City in Colo.

14. Broomsticks? Elderly women were usually accused of witchcraft. As they were poor and had no money for a horse, they travelled with the aid of a walking stick. The poorest couldn't afford that, so they used a broomstick instead.

15. Americans spend over $6 billion annually on costumes, candy and decorations.

16. Consider these two holidays, Halloween and Valentine's Day. Which holiday sells more chocolates? Here's the answer: Twice as many chocolates are sold during Halloween than Valentines.

17. 90 million pounds of chocolate are sold during Halloween.

Bone fire -  Bon fire.  Cool.
Bone fire - Bon fire. Cool. | Source

18. During Samhain celebrations, druid priests would light bonfires in the hope that the sun would return during Spring. They also threw the bones of cattle into the fire and so, "bone fire" turned into "bonfire".

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19. The National Retail Federation expects (on average), each person to spend $66.28 on Halloween items this year.

20. There's a $1000 fine/six month jail sentence for using Silly String in Hollywood this year. The product was used previously to vandalize streets during Halloween, or simply for some spooky fun. However, it is now illegal to sell Silly String on the streets of Hollywood during Halloween night.

21. The fastest time to carve a face in a pumpkin is 20.1 seconds. This amazing feat was done by David Finkle in the United Kingdom, whilst being filmed by BBC for a Halloween show in 2010.

22. The name "Jack O'Lantern" originated from an Irish tale of a man called Jack. He tricked the devil and as a result, was not allowed into hell or heaven. He remained on Earth, wandering the streets with his turnip lantern.

23. Irish people who travelled to America during the potato Famine of the 1800's brought the tradition of a "turnip lantern" (from the Jack O'Lantern tale) with them. However, turnips were not common in America so they used pumpkins instead. That's how the pumpkin lantern was born.

24. Boston holds the world record for the most Jack O'Lanterns lit at once. Precisely 30,128 pumpkins were lit up at once during Halloween.

25. The National Retail Federation has found that the amount of money spent on Halloween has risen by 54% since 2005. That means Halloween is getting more popular each year.

26. Candy and sweet manufacturers supposedly lobbied to have Daylight Savings Time to begin on 1 November, so children could stay trick-or-treating for longer. An hour extra meant more sweets would have to be bought, meaning more revenue for candy makers. According to NPR, in a 1958 conference on Dayligh Savings Time, candy makers placed pumpkins filled with candy on every seat, in an attempt to "sweeten" up the senators on the decision.

27. It is estimated that parents spend a whopping $1.04 billion on children's costumes each year.

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28. Scottish girls believed that by hanging wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween, they would see their future husband in the drips of water on the sheets.

29. Halloween was slightly influenced by the Roman festival Pomona, which celebrated the goddess of harvest. Notice that the word for apple in French is "pomme", "pomodoro" in Italian and "pomero" in Spanish. During the Roman festival, there were many games involving apples. That's why today during Halloween, games such as apple bobbing are played.

30. The word "Jack O'Lantern" originated from an Irish tale of man named Jack who foolishly tricked the devil one night. When he died, he was unable to enter heaven or hell. He was forced to remain on Earth, carrying his Jack O'Lantern (made of a turnip) for light.

Any Other Spooky Facts To Share?

Do you have any other spooky facts, trivia to share? I'll add to this list, just say so in the comments below!

Share this post to get everyone in the Halloween spirit (and look impressive for those Halloween parties). Thanks for reading!

© 2014 Susan W

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Interesting hub Susi. We don't have a holiday here in Australia for Halloween, in fact it has only started becoming popular in recent years with a lot of merchandise and costumes being sold and worn. Thanks for sharing these facts.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I always enjoy articles like this one. I always learn something new that I can dazzle my friends with. :) Thanks for the trivia ammunition.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      This was fun to read. Here are a couple more items:

      * The name "All Hallow's Eve" means it precedes "All Saints' Day", which is November 1st. This holiday precedes the Day of the Dead, which is November 2nd.

      * In Medieval Europe, on Halloween, it was customary for people to dress up as their favorite dead relative to celebrate the day.

      Halloween happens to be Stevie Nicks' favorite holiday. I've always enjoyed it myself, though it's only recently I've been able to come up with costume ideas. I like to celebrate by going to "Rocky Horror Picture Show" parties. At Stanford University, they host a party at Leland and Jane Stanford's burial site; I used to go to those when I lived in Silicon Valley.

    • mentalitch profile image

      mentalitch 2 years ago from United States

      Really interesting stuff.. especially with Hawaiians who use pineapple instead of pumpkins.

      Elderly women may not afford a horse but riding a broomstick is more exciting.

      Thanks for sharing these wonderful info! Will share your hub to my feed :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      This is a fascinating collection of facts. Voted up and more, plus pinning.

    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 2 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Very interesting Hub.

      Thanks, up, interesting.

      Halloween did not used to be such a commercial event, as it is now. It only became commercialized since the "razor blade" scare of the early '70's.

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