10 little-known Halloween fun facts

Happy Halloween, Verbalists

It’s Halloween, time to have fun with the kids, eat, drink and be scary. So here are some fun facts that you can trick (or treat) your friends and family with:

  1. Halloween goes back more than 2,000 years. It all started as a Celtic festival called Samhain (meaning “summer’s end”) which celebrated the final day of the harvest and the crossing of spirits over into the other world. People would ward off ghosts by lighting bonfires and wore masks to avoid being recognized by the spirits thought to be present.
  2. Trick-or-treating has existed since medieval times. In Scotland and Ireland young people dressed up in costumes and asked for food or money in exchange for songs, poems, or other “tricks“.
  3. Along with other festivities, the celebration of Halloween was largely forbidden among the early American colonists. When large numbers of Irish immigrants went to the United States in the mid 19th century, they took their Halloween customs with them, and in the 20th century it became one of the principal U.S. holidays.
  4. Sugar rationing during World War II halted trick-or-treating.
  5. Now Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the United States. It comes after only Christmas.
  6. The most popular children’s costumes are princesses and superheroes.
  7. The classic Halloween symbol is the jack-o’-lantern, the famous hollowed-out pumpkin carved into a demonic face and lit with a candle inside. As the story goes, an Irish man named Stingy Jack tricked the devil and was hence left to spend his days roaming the Earth, carrying a lantern, and went by “Jack of the Lantern.“
  8. Jack-‘o-lanterns used to be carved out of turnips, potatoes, and beets. Once Halloween became popular in America, people used pumpkins instead.
  9. There’s also traditional Halloween bread in Ireland. It’s called barmbrack or just “brack.” The sweet loaf typically contains a small toy or ring. Tradition dictates the person who finds the item will receive good fortune.
  10. New York City throws the biggest Halloween parade in the U.S. It draws more than 2 million spectators and includes thousands participants, but it started out as a simple idea from a Greenwich Village resident — a walk from house to house for his children and their friends… when a local theatre got wind of it, they turned it into a bigger event — and it’s gotten bigger every year since!

Happy Halloween!
The Verbalists Education team

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