ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Halloween Facts

Updated on May 7, 2015

Halloween is a night of mystery, superstition and all things spooky but it still remains one of the most popular and widely celebrated holidays of all time.

According to a National Research Federation study an astounding 71% of all Americans plan on celebrating Halloween in the 2012 retail season, that equals some 170 million people. Some impressive numbers for our favorite holiday.

Halloween as a result of this amazing popularity has become big business for candy and costume manufacturers but what is the actual story behind the wildly popular holiday? When did it begin? Where did it begin?

Read on to learn 5 things you might not have known about halloween.

Pumpkins in a field.
Pumpkins in a field.

5. The Name Halloween

The name Halloween can be traced back to the 16th century when it was first used to simplify the proper name "All Hallows Even (evening)".

It was also called All Hallows Eve by the Christians and was celebrated the night before Alholowmesse (All Saints Day) as a time when the lost souls that wandered earth had one last chance to seek revenge on their enemies before moving on into the next life. To help avoid this one could were a disguise and basically hid until All Hallows Eve was over.

It was shortened to Hallowe'en until late in the 20th century when its abbreviation was removed entirely and it became the more recognizable spelling Halloween that we know and love today.

Image - Pumpkins in a field


4. Trick or Treat

Trick or Treating, some times called 'Guising' is a customary practice around the world involving dressing up in costumes of ghosts, ghouls and goblins asking for treats from nearby neighbors.

The custom can be traced back to a number of traditions from the middle ages such as the Roman Catholic custom of Souling, which involves participants dressing up and saying prayers and singing for the dead on All Saints Day in return for food which was a cake baked specifically for the occasion called a soul cake. When the cake was eaten a soul trapped on earth would be released.

The tradition of guising, another possible influence on trick or treating, comes from a Celtic tradition which involved dressing up to preform house to house in order to earn food or money from the homes owners. Its earliest recording was in Scotland 1895 though references to wearing disguises date back much further than that.

Halloween decorating tips

Trick or Treat
Trick or Treat

3. The Origins of Halloween

Halloweens origins are commonly thought to relate back to two main influences stemming from the ancient European Celtics and their fall harvest festival called Samhain in the 10th century and the Roman Catholic celebration All Saints Day in the year 609.

The ancient Celtics would celebrate the end of the growing season with the festival of Samhain as a time when the lines between the living (summer) and dead (winter) were blurred and the dead would return to their earthly forms to cause destruction and havoc. It was thought that a festival to appease the deceased would appease the spirits ensuring a safe winter season. The festival was traditionally held on November 1st and 2nd.

When Rome eventually conquered the Celtic lands they brought their own customs and festival and in 609 A.D. pope Boniface IV created a holiday to commemorate martyrs of the Catholic religion. This holiday was eventually moved to November 1st and was used as a church sanctioned holiday to replace the Celtic festival of Samhaim.

It is still debated which had more influence on the modern holiday as we know it or if both were involved at all.


2. Why We Like Dressing Up

In 1600s the Celtic custom of wearing disguises during the festival of Samhain to protect from evil spirits roaming the earthly plane was a possible origin for common Halloween practices. It was practiced by Scottish and Irish descendants as a tradition on October 31st to mark the end of the fall harvest.

Roman Catholics in Britain further enabled this custom by wearing disguises to hid from angry spirits that were wandering the earth on All Hallows Eve, which was implementing to replace the pagan ritual of Samhain. It was thought that evil spirits were out for revenge on the night before All Saints Day and if you were a target you could hide from the ghost by wearing a disguise.

The traditions continued through the 19th century and well into the 20th century being introduce to North America by landed immigrants from European nations.

Candy corn - a Halloween favorite.
Candy corn - a Halloween favorite.

1. Halloween Is Big Business

Retail sales have hit an all time high for the holiday of Halloween with growth projections continuing to climb. It seems this fun and exciting holiday is only growing in popularity with participants willing to spend big bucks to enjoy their Halloween fun.

Some numbers to put the sales into perspective for North American consumers based on NRF BIGResearch Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Surveys for 2011 are:

  • Costume Sales - $2.52 billion
  • Halloween Candy - $2 billion
  • Halloween Greeting Cards - $0.47 billion
  • Halloween Decorations - $1.88 billion

The grand total for 2011 based on the consumer survey equal $6.86 billion which is up over $1 billion more than North American consumers had planned to spend the year before.

Halloween Favorites

What is your favorite part of Halloween?

See results

Visit my :: HubPages profile :: for more interesting and freaky facts about all things creepy.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)