8 Fascinating Halloween Facts You Maybe Already Know!? 🎃👻🦇
The spookiest weekend of the year is upon us, Monday 30th is traditionally known as Mischief Night and Tuesday 31st Hallowe'en!
If you are planning a party, have a really fun time, me, I have been busy carving pumpkins hand picked from Flavour First Farm in Donaghadee, great fun. Hope you like them? Still time left to go visit the farm and pick your own pumpkin.
1. Halloween is rooted in ancient Celtic history!
Halloween is older than Christianity and its roots lead back to the pre-Christian Celtic or Pagan celebration of Samhain. Samhain translates as ‘Summer’s End’ and took place around 1st November. The Celts believed the veil between the living and dead was thinnest at this time of year. They tried to ward off ghosts and evil spirits with bonfires, costumes and masks to trick the spirits into moving on.
2. Trick-or-treating has a medieval past!
The tradition of turning up on your neighbour’s doorstep and asking for treats is far from a new tradition. In medieval times, the same activity, known as ‘guising’, took place in Scotland and Ireland. Guising saw youngsters going door-to-door asking for money and food in exchange for songs, rhymes or ‘tricks’ they could perform.
3. Halloween has an unexpected romantic backstory!
While Halloween is seemingly all about ghosts and ghouls, there’s also an amorous element. Some Halloween rituals saw women looking for clues about their future husbands. In the 18th century, women threw apple peels over their shoulders, hoping to see the initials of their future love.
4. Irish folklore lies behind the character of Jack O’Lantern!
Jack O’Lantern is someone we closely associate with the traditional carved pumpkins of Halloween. However, his story dates back to ancient Irish myth and the character of Stingy Jack. He was said to be doomed to roam the earth at night due to a deal made with the devil. To light his path, he used to light coal and carry it in a carved-out turnip. When Irish settlers arrived in the USA, they realised the pumpkin offered a much better surface for carving.
5. Full moons at Halloween are very rare indeed!
We associate full moons with the spookiest time of year, but this isn’t always the case. The moon is full approximately every 19 years on Halloween. The last full moon on 31st October was in 2020, so we’ve got a long wait until the next one!
6. Traditional bonfires contained bones!
While bonfires are linked to Bonfire Night traditionally, they’re also common at Halloween, and their past is also a little spookier than you’d imagine. Original Celtic bonfires were more aptly named ‘bone fires’ as the Celts threw animal bones into the flames to ward off those evil spirits again.
7. Witches are more wise than wicked!
The witch has become a symbol of Halloween and while the image of the wicked witch who scares young children and casts evil curses is considered particularly seasonal, that’s not, historically, what witches were all about.
The witch is taken from the Old English ‘wicce’ which translates as ‘wise woman.’ The wicce in Anglo Saxon villages were held in high esteem and would use their magic through pagan rites and ceremonies to summon good harvests. Wicce tended to be unmarried women and also widowed women who used their reputation for medicinal herbalism and healing abilities to earn a living.
It wasn’t until the 15th century that the image of witches flying became commonplace, although they were pictured flying on shovels, goats and wolves before the broomstick became the most popular choice.
8. Spooky Hit “Monster Mash” was once banned by the BBC!
Guaranteed to be on any Halloween playlist (including my own) and played at Halloween parties up and down the country, Monster Mash, by American singer Bobby Pickett was once banned by the BBC.
The BBC made the unusual decision to ban the 1962 hit song from airplay because they considered it “too morbid.” It was over a decade later in 1973 when the Halloween hit finally got the attention it deserved in the UK. 11 years after its release the song hit Number 3 in the UK charts and everyone was able to enjoy this Halloween classic.