10 Spooky Halloween Facts That You Might Not Know

Halloween celebrations are fun and spooky in all the right ways. But don’t get caught unaware: make sure you know these 10 fun Halloween facts.
Spooky halloween facts represented by two jack o'lanterns that look like scary faces.

Goblins and ghouls, trick-or-treating and late night witchcraft. Halloween is a creepy crawly fun time of the year. Take your spook-o-meter up a peg this season with our list of fun Halloween facts. From the history of jack-o-lanterns to the weight of the worlds largest pumpkin, show everyone up at your next costume party and prove that you really do love Halloween.


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  1. The tradition of Halloween comes from Samhain, an ancient pagan festival celebrated by Celtic people. It took place in the United Kingdom, Ireland and northwestern France. Though few concrete details are known about ancient Samhain, many scholars also believe this festival marked the start of a new year for the Celts. During the festival of Samhain, the line between the world of the living and the spiritual became a blurry one, allowing spirits to interact with the living. People lit bonfires at the edge of fields to ward off the encroaching darkness. This practice persisted well into the Middle Ages, with young boys in Wales and Scotland running from bonfire to bonfire with torches.
  2. An intense and persistent fear of Halloween is called Samhainophobia. Unlike today’s lighthearted and candy-filled holiday, a festival of the dead was believed to be the day when the gates of hell would open and unleash wandering angry spirits. Hard not to be scared of that.
  3. The word witch comes from the Old English wicce, meaning wise woman. At one time, these women were highly respected. According to popular belief, witches held meetings, known as sabbats, on Halloween night.
  4. Trick-or-treating began in areas of the UK and Ireland. Poor people went house-to-house souling — so called because they asked for small breads called soul cakes in exchange for prayer. While this is the most popular origin story, another potential origin of trick-or-treating is “mumming,” where costumed performers would go door to door exchanging songs for a glass of something hot and usually alcoholic.
  5. The first jack-o’-lanterns were actually made from turnips.
  6. While pumpkins are typically orange, they can also be green, white, red and gray.
  7. The world’s largest pumpkin weighed in at 1,247 kilograms (2,749 pounds). This new record was set in 2023 at the 50th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California.
  8. Black cats, spiders and bats are all Halloween symbols because of their historical ties to Wiccans. These animals were thought to be the companions of witches in the Middle Ages, and are often associated with bad luck.
  9. The Village Halloween Parade in New York City is the United States’s largest Halloween parade, involving 50,000 participants and over 2 million spectators. While the celebration was curtailed during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s back to full force now.
  10. In many cultures, people return to their hometowns on Halloween to purchase candles and flowers in preparation for All Saints’ Day on November 1st.

infographic of 10 halloween fun facts

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