Halloween facts to impress the kids!
We’re all looking forward to a crazy night of fun and dressing up – or carving and lighting pumpkins! But what are the origins of Halloween – and why do we have pumpkins at all?
We’ve had a look at the history of this traditionally spooky night and come up with some fascinating Halloween facts to wow the kids with!
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What’s the origin of Halloween?
Well there are different theories, no one is entirely sure of the true Halloween facts. One theory is that Halloween originated in the Celtic Pagan Harvest Festival of Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark days of winter.
People of the time saw it as a transitory period during which the boundary between their world and the ‘Otherworld’ was blurred. This meant that in the changeover of season, spirits from the ‘Otherworld’ could escape, which people were terrified of!
The souls of the dead could return on this one night, and people believed they would come calling at the door. Offerings of food and drink were left out for them, places set at the table and fires made for them. The belief was that if the spirits were appeased then people and livestock would be safe for the year!
Another theory is that in fact it was a festival of the Christian Church, on the eve of All Hallows Day. Like Christmas Eve, Christian festivals often have a vigil the night before, hence Halloween – the Eve of All Hallows.
What is certain is that it was celebrated in Ireland and Scotland and Irish emigrants took it with them to America in the 19th Century. This began the great popularity of Halloween in the USA!
To learn more Halloween facts, have a closer look at the history of Halloween!
Why do people go trick or treating on Halloween?
Kids love trick or treating at Halloween, but what’s the history behind this ghoulish activity?
Trick or treating could have originated in Samhain, when the spirits were believed to come calling at the door.
From around the 16th Century ‘mumming’ or ‘guising’ became common at Halloween – people would dress up in costumes and call at homes, perhaps impersonating the souls of the dead. They would sing songs and recite poetry in return for food and drink – for kids now of course it’s sweets and chocolates!
The costumes worn were thought to represent the spirits the people believed might escape on this night!
Why are pumpkins lit on Halloween?
Originally it was turnips and swedes! Pumpkins came later, from America. A lit pumpkin is the descendent of the turnip lanterns lit and carried by mummers and guisers to ward away the evil spirits!
Turnip lanterns were originally called Jack O’Lanterns – this stemmed from an Irish folk tale about a character called Jack! Jack was a heavy drinker and the myth goes that one day, on the way home, he encountered the Devil. He tricked him into climbing a tree on which he etched the sign of a cross. It’s said that Jack struck a bargain with the Devil that he would never go to hell, but as he was a drinker and lived a sinful life, he could never go to heaven either!
The folk tale says that the Devil threw a hot coal at him from the fires of Hell. He picked it up and put it into a hollowed out turnip to keep warm and to light his way. It was said that he roamed the earth with the lantern, looking for a place to rest!
We’ve taken on the American tradition of lighting pumpkins rather than turnips, putting them out at Halloween. Pumpkins are much easier to carve and light than the turnips first used in Scotland and Ireland!
A pumpkin is actually a fruit!
This is one of those little known Halloween facts!
We tend to think of pumpkins as vegetables, but in fact they are fruits because they contain seeds. This also applies to cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, avocados and more! Pumpkins have huge variety, around 30 different sorts, and some are sweeter than others. They can be made into sweet or savoury dishes!
Why are spiders associated with Halloween?
It’s thought that the spider is the spirit of a loved one watching over the person who finds the spider! It’s not just that lots of people find spiders creepy!
Why are the colours black and orange used on Halloween?
Orange is associated with harvest, black is associated with death!
What games were historically played on Halloween?
More Halloween facts……
Games like apple bobbing and mirror gazing were often played – in apple bobbing, the first woman to grab an apple with her teeth would be the next to get married! Most of the games played were focused on foretelling the future, marriage and death.
You can try apple bobbing for yourself! A great game for kids too!
Bonfires aren’t just for Guy Fawkes’ Night!
Bonfires were traditionally lit on Halloween and burning torches carried around the villages. Fire was supposed to protect the houses and ward away the evil spirits.
We hope you and your kids enjoy a spookily exciting evening! Once the party is over, start ordering your kids’ Christmas gifts! Our Personalised Bottle Bands and Personalised kids’ cutlery make ideal kids’ party gifts or Christmas stocking fillers!
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