The origins of Halloween date back 2,000 years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on October 31 on the eve of their new year. The Celts believed that the dead returned to earth that night, and so they lit bonfires and donned costumes to ward off the ghosts. During the mid-1800s, a flood of Irish immigrants fled from the potato famine to the U.S., bringing the tradition of Halloween with them.
Pumpkins with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating jack-o'-lanterns originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as early canvasses. In fact, the name jack-o'-lantern comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack who fooled the devil and in turn was forced to walk the Earth with only a burning coal in a hollowed turnip to light his way. The Irish began to call him “Jack of the Lantern,” and then just “Jack o’Lantern.”
The City of Keene, New Hampshire holds the Guinness World Record for the most lit jack-o'-lanterns on display (a whopping 30,581). Since it started in 1991, the Keene Pumpkin Festival has set the world record eight times for the most lit jack-o’-lanterns in one place.
Trick-or-treating was inspired by the medieval English tradition of "souling," which involved children going door-to-door on All Souls Day, offering prayers for residents’ deceased loved ones in exchange for food. It is also thought to be inspired by a tradition called "mumming," in which, during the middle ages, people dressed up as ghosts and demons then went door-to-door performing songs and scenes from plays in exchange for food and drink.
While Skittle's, Reese's Cups and Starburts were America's favorite candies of 2020, candy corn is more divisive. According to CandyStore.com's most recent top 10 worst Halloween candies list, more people hate candy corn than love it. Consumers voted candy corn the worst Halloween candy in the country in 2019 and 2020. However, it also made the 2020 top 10 best Halloween candies list, so it remains an intense debate.
The world's longest haunted house is located in Lewisburg, Ohio. The Haunted Cave is 3,564 feet long and 80 feet underground.
The mask worn by Michael Myers in "Halloween" was actually a William Shatner mask. Production designer Tommy Lee Wallace picked up the $2 mask from a Hollywood Boulevard magic shop then spray painted it white. The rest is scary movie history.
"It" is the most commercially successful horror film of all time. The 2017 film based on Stephen King's classic horror novel grossed $700,381,759 worldwide.