Blogtober Day 13: Thirteen Halloween Facts

Blogtober

Halloween being my favorite holiday was my favorite classroom holiday too, my kids were in for an action packed day of spooky activities. My last Halloween teaching public school, our district had banned Halloween parties & instituted ‘Harvest Festivals’ instead which sounds infinitely more ominous than a Halloween party. During my tenure as a teacher, I did loads of research into the origins of Halloween & this is a hodge podge of things I learned over the years!

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The Catholics knew how to celebrate Halloween or Hallowmas as the three-day festival used to be called. It was an event honoring the recently deceased and lasted from October 31 to November 2. I think this should be reinstated, especially given this election year – we deserve a three day party!

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Per usual, the Catholics didn’t institute a three day festival for the sake of a good time, it was more in the spirit of trying to convert the pagans. Samhain (Summer’s End) was the end of harvest festival celebrated by the Celts on November 1. The Pope’s institution of a religious festival was an attempt to bring the two religions together. It should also be noted that Dios De Los Meurtos are celebrated on November 1 & November 2, I just find it interesting how these holidays have so many different yet similar iterations.

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Trick-or-treating originated in Scotland & Ireland which again, was popularized by the Catholic church. Poor children would go from door to door ‘begging’ for treats in exchange for prayers. The costume bit still originates from Samhain, the revelers would wear costumes to confuse the spirits that could walk the mortal world during the festival. The Irish can also be credited for popularizing the celebration of Halloween in the United States, immigrants fleeing the potato famine brought their traditions with them.

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The American economy can thank those poor, starving Irish immigrants (who escaped the famine & genocide inflicted by the British) for the cash cow that Halloween has become. Second only to Christmas, Americans spend about 9-billion dollars celebrating the holiday.

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Wicce, the Old English word for witch means wise woman. Witches were not always the target of superstitious Puritans & religious maniacs, they were once respected individuals who often possessed healing talents & advanced knowledge of everything nature.

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Even the traditional black & orange colors associated with Halloween have significant meaning. Orange is symbolic of strength & also the colors associated with the fall harvest. Black has a more ominous symbolism in that it relates to death & the Samhain celebration.

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Harry Houdini died on Halloween night, 1926. Not really anything to do with Halloween but how fascinating to pass away on the night where the boundaries between the living world & underworld are a bit undefined. Same goes for being born on Halloween. children born on this day supposedly possessed the ability to talk with spirits.

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There are two ‘Halloween Capitals of the World’ in the United States – Anoka, MN & Salem, MA. Anoka claims to be the first city to hold a Halloween celebration to deter vandals & pranksters. Pretty lame when stacked up against the history of Salem, if you ask me. I’ve been to the Anoka celebration a few times, of course I am disappointed that it will be cancelled this year.

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Again, not completely to do with actual Halloween but this just cracks me up – the mask used in Halloween was a painted William Shatner mask. The movie had such a tight production budget that the crew got creative & repurposed a Captain Kirk mask. I don’t know why I find this so funny but it’s a fun bit of movie trivia.

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Halloween is still celebrated as the Wiccan New Year. Also, much of the popular symbols of Halloween including owls, black cats, bats & spiders have ties to Wiccan rituals and Samhain celebrations. While I love the modernized celebration of Halloween, I have deep respect for its origins & actually somewhat understand why it was pulled from most public schools ๐Ÿ˜› It doesn’t take much Googling to find all of this out…

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Full moons on Halloween are actually quite rare, so get your rituals in folks ๐Ÿ˜€ This year will be a Blue Moon, which is the second full moon to occur in the same month. So for real, get your cauldrons ready…you think I’m kidding…

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35-million pounds of candy corn are made each year. Who is eating candy corn? I can’t even, it’s literally the most disgusting thing. My mom used to make this cake with candy corn in it, I don’t remember it being terrible but I also don’t remember loving it.

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The far reaching impacts of World War II put an end to trick-or-treating due to sugar rationing. Too bad it didn’t put an end to candy corn altogether ๐Ÿ˜€ The popular comic strip Peanuts was the brain child of WWII veteran, Charles Schulz & can be partially credited for the revival of traditional trick-or-treating in America.

Do you go in for the darker Samhain celebration or more of the cutesy, modern Halloween? Honestly, I love aspects of both. Let me know if you have some spooky facts to share! Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿงก

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Psycho (1960) is probably one of the most well-known Hitchcock films & for good reason. Who could forget that bombshell moment when Norman Bates reveals himself as his own mother! Marion Crane fleeces her boss of $40,000 to elope with her boyfriend but falls prey to Bates when she stops off to stay the night at his motel.

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