6 creepy-crawly facts about our favorite holiday
Around Oct. 31, there are a number of holidays celebrated that date back centuries. From the Gaelic celebration of Samhain to the Christian influence of All Saints' Day, a number of traditions have been adapted to Halloween - the second most commercialized holiday in America. We all know it's a great time to pick out a costume and dip into our kids' goodie bags, but a holiday with such a rich history obviously has a lot more to it.
Here are a few spooky facts you might not have known about Halloween:
Nobody is tampering with your kids’ candy
In recent years, there has been a real dip in traditional trick-or-treating, with parents opting for organized events like trunk-or-treats because they’re perceived as safer. While keeping kids contained in a single area instead of running amok around the neighborhood certainly limits their chances of injury, the candy your kids are getting from trunk-or-treats is no safer than the ones they’re getting from neighbors around the block.
According to Snopes, there is no uptick in razorblades, anthrax or rat poison being found in Halloween candy. In fact, the only case of death from Halloween candy is from 1974, when a father poisoned his own child so he could collect a life insurance payout. Each other case that’s been reported has turned out to be a hoax or another isolated incident.
Candy corn is a timeless tradition
Whether you love or hate candy corn, you can’t deny that it's a Halloween tradition! Made with the same recipe since 1898, the classic Jelly Belly confection consists of just corn syrup, sugar and marshmallow. You could make your own, if you really wanted! You don’t have to, though, because 35 million pounds are produced every year!
Trick-or-treating wasn’t always so easy
The practice of going door-to-door for treats dates back to the Middle Ages, but kids didn’t get their sweets just for showing up. All Hallow’s Eve tradition required children to work it! They usually sang or danced, and some even performed plays!
“Souling” was also a tradition, in which poor children would offer prayers door-to-door on All Saints’ Day in exchange for food and money.
The legendary ‘Halloween’ mask is actually a William Shatner mask
Back in 1978, John Carpenter was pretty new to the game, and his little horror endeavor didn’t have a particularly large budget. Since the character of Michael Meyers had to cover his face while he stalked Laurie Strode, they picked up a cheap Halloween mask from the store. This mask was actually a low-quality Captain Kirk mask. Now that you know, you can kind of see it, can’t you? Kind of?
Jack-o’-lanterns were originally made out of turnips
Though the latest social media trend is to make jack-o’-lanterns out of all sorts of produce, the most traditional gourd to carve is the pumpkin. However, that’s not how the tradition started. Jack-o’-lanterns began in Ireland and Scotland, and were usually made out of turnips - pumpkins didn’t even grow in those countries back then! However, when European settlers discovered they were hollow, they realized how much easier they’d be to carve.
The tradition of carving jack-o’-lanterns stems from a folktale about a man named Jack who was locked out of both heaven and hell and carved these turnips to light his way through Earth and limbo.
There is strange romantic lore tied to the holiday
Young people didn’t always get much opportunity to mingle with members of the opposite sex, so Halloween was known as a day that boys and girls could spend together. The night was even known as “Cabbage Night” in some towns, named after an old game in which girls would use cabbage stumps to predict when they would get married.