My daughter came to me sometime back to get my feedback on a poem she is writing for her Language Arts class at school – using Maya Angelou’s ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten me at all’ (and I discovered a wonderful poem and Maya Angelou’s recitation of that poem as a result). As we read my daughter’s poems, she commented that she had not realized earlier how scary Mother Goose poems sound (for example, Rock-a-Bye Baby). To read some of these scary poems, you can check out this link here and Literati Pulps’s scary poems to read for Halloween.
From Mother Goose’s scary poems and the Grimms Brothers Fairy Tales to clowns scaring people across cities in the world today and the various true stranger danger news everyday, we have come a long way. With all the scary clowns, clown costumes and masks are banned in my kids’ schools along with a few other type of costumes. So I am looking forward to trick-or-treating with my kids with the added assurance that we will not be running into scary clowns (hopefully) in our neighborhoods!! But there is more to Halloween than trick-or-treating and here are 13 ghoul-picked weird facts for you..
1. Halloween’s origins are in the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain celebrated over 2000 years ago.
2. Halloween is short for Hallow’s Eve (the day before All Hallows Day/Holy Day) on November 1st
3. Some people have samhainophobia (fear of Halloween)…
4. Trick-or-treating itself owes its beginnings to the practice known as mumming or guising, where people disguised in costumes went door-to-door singing songs and dancing in exchange for food
5. Mumming and guising might have had their origins in another custom called ‘souling’, where people (mostly poor children) went door to door, offering prayers for the departed in exchange for soul cakes.
6. Jack-o-lanterns were originally made of turnips. Pumpkins are a much later addition
|By Toby Ord (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons|
7. The name Jack-o-lantern also has an interesting history. According to Irish folklore, Jack tricked the devil one too many times and was denied entry into heaven because of that. But since he had already made a bargain with the devil that Satan cannot claim his soul, he ends up in the in-between and he made himself a lantern with a piece of coal the devil threw at him, and has been roaming ever since.
8. Apple bobbing or dunking as a Halloween game started in Ireland and England in the 17th – 20th centuries.
9. Chocolate candies top the list of popular Halloween candies and an article has Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at #1 on the list.
10. Halloween is the second most commercially successful festival in the US (not Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day), after Christmas (the sheer amount of candy sold itself helps! and then there are the costumes and Halloween parties!!)
12. The movie Halloween re-purposed William Shatner’s Star Trek’s mask, as they were on a shoestring budget, and that was the cheapest mask they could find.
13. World War II caused sugar rationing, which impacted trick-or-treating for a few years.
Do you have any interesting facts or stories to share about Halloween? Do let me know.