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Halloween Trivia

Reese's Cups aren't the most popular candy?!

You’ve got your costume picked out, candy buckets filled, and party all planned — all that’s left to do for the best Halloween ever is put your knowledge to the test. How much do you really know about Halloween? Turns out it’s not only about who gets the most chocolate or creates the scariest costume.

Over the centuries, the holiday has evolved from a way of begging for food to one of the most commercialized days of the entire year. Here are the Halloween facts you need to know:

1. The holiday goes back more than 2,000 years.

Halloween all started as a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain (which means “summer’s end”) held around the first of November. It celebrated the final day of the harvest and the crossing of spirits over into the other world. People in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France would ward off ghosts by lighting sacrificial bonfires, and, you guessed it, wearing costumes, according to History.com.

2. Trick-or-treating has existed since medieval times.

Back then, it was known as “guising” in Scotland and Ireland. Young people dressed up in costumes and asked for food or money in exchange for songs, poems, or other “tricks.” Today, the tradition has morphed into children to getting dressed up and asking for candy.

3. Immigrants helped popularize the holiday in the U.S.

When the Irish fled their country in the 1840s due to the potato famine, they brought their Halloween traditions with them. By the 1920s, the holiday the mischief reached an all-time high. Some believe community-based trick-or-treating became popular in the 1930s as a way to control the excessive pranksters.

4. Sugar rationing during World War II halted trick-or-treating.

After the rationing ended, the tradition grew into what we’re familiar with today. Candy companies started launching advertising campaigns to capitalize on the ritual.

5. Now Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the country.

It comes after only Christmas. Consumers spent approximately $9 billion (!) on Halloween last year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). That’s A LOT of candy and costumes.

halloween trivia candy

6. Americans spend about $86.79 on Halloween every year.

That includes Halloween decorations, candy & costumes. (If you’re curious how that compares to Christmas, Americans spent an average of $1,007 on winter holidays in 2018.)

7. They used to be carved out of turnips, potatoes, and beets.

Jack-‘o-lanterns originated in Ireland, after all. Once Halloween became popular in America, people used pumpkins instead.

8. Illinois produces up to five times more pumpkins than any other state.

The Land of Lincoln has more than 15,000 acres devoted to gourd growing, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Those Illinois farms typically grow more than 500 million pounds of pumpkins annually.

9. Candy corn was originally called “chicken feed.”

The Goelitz Confectionery Company sold boxes with a rooster on the front in order to appeal to America’s agricultural roots, according to National Geographic. The sugary recipe has gone largely unchanged since the 1880s.

10. You can actually visit a pumpkin patch in Hawaii.

Head to Waimanalo Country Farms in Oahu to pick pumpkins while you’re on the islands. Looking for squash in Florida? Try the Pickin’ Patch in Dunnellon. (It’s a watermelon farm the rest of the year!)

11. The fastest pumpkin carving lasted 16.47 seconds.

Stephen Clarke holds the honor. The jack-o’-lantern had to contain a complete face, including eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.

12. Skittles are the top Halloween candy.

The bite-sized candies outranked M&M’s, Snickers, and Reese’s Cups, according to 11 years of sales data from CandyStore.com. And even though candy corn also made the top 10, the tricolored treats also ranked among the worst Halloween candies, according to a CandyStore.com survey.

13. Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926.

The famous magician, illusionist, and entertainer died from peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix, but multiple contradicting reports caused quite the mystery around his death.

14. Some shelters used to suspend black cat adoptions for Halloween.

They feared that the animals were in danger of satanic cults in the days leading up to Halloween. Nowadays, some shelters promote black cat adoptions in October and use interviews to weed out anyone with the wrong intentions.

15. A city in Canada banned teens over 16 from trick-or-treating.

According to CBC, anyone over the age of 16 caught trick-or-treating — or even just wearing masks — in Bathurst, Canada, faces up to a $200 fine. The city also has a curfew for everyone else, so even those under 16 aren’t allowed out after 8 p.m. on Halloween.

Credit: goodhousekeeping.com

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