Ten Halloween facts we bet you don't know

Halloween is one of the biggest nights on the autumnal calendar. We have ten terrific Halloween facts we bet you don't already know!
Halloween Pupkins in a spooky setting

1. Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years. [2]

2. Halloween was influenced by the ancient Roman festival Pomona which celebrated the harvest goddess of the same name. Many Halloween traditions and games that feature nuts and apples (such as bobbing for apples) date from this time. In fact, in the past, Halloween has been called San-Apple Night and Nutcrack Night. [3]


3. Some believe that trick or treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year. [1]

4. During the pre-Halloween celebration of Samhain, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Often Druid priests would throw the bones of cattle into the flames and “bone fire” became “bonfire.” [3]


5. Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain. [3]

6. 'Souling' is another tradition that is seen as a precursor to modern-day trick or treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes and other types of food. [2]


7. With their link to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain and later to witches, cats have a permanent place in Halloween folklore. During the ancient celebration of Samhain, Druids were said to throw cats into a fire, often in wicker cages, as part of divination proceedings. [4]

8. There is popular belief that witches held one of their two main meeting on Halloween night. The word 'witch' also comes from the Old English, 'wicce', meaning wise woman. [4]


9. According to Irish Legend, Jack O'Lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into heaven or hell. He was condemned to instead wander the Earth and now waves his lantern to lead people away from their paths and into danger. [4]

10. Tradition states that if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight. [4]

If you need anything else to give your Halloween that extra bit of scare then why not check out our great Halloween Gifts – we've got some otherworldly sweet hampers that could put even the hardiest zombie into a sugar coma!

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[1] Morrow, Ed. The Halloween Handbook. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 2001.

[2] Rogers, Nicholas. Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003.

[3] Skal, David J. Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween. New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2002.

[4] Thompson, Sue Elled, ed. Holiday Symbols and Customs. 3rd Edition. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, Inc, 2003.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Categories: Holidays & Seasons
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