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25 fun facts about Halloween

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PETER STEFFEN/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

25 fun facts about Halloween

Can we all agree that Halloween is the creepiest night of the year? It's the eve when bats fly, dogs howl, and spooky energy perfumes the air. Houses decorated with spiders and skeletons beckon costumed children to fill their bags with candy as their anxious parents pray they don't slip on wet leaves or break a tooth on hard candy.

Oct. 31 is the night that reminds us that the light days of summer are long gone, and the darkness of winter will soon arrive. Ever wonder how a wicked holiday with symbols of witches, black cats, fire, skeletons, and darkness turned into an annual celebration of children and candy?

While most people know the basic narrative of Halloween, Stacker wanted to dig a little deeper and deliver some tricks and treats. Along with reading up on works from Halloween scholars like Regina Hansen, we looked at statistics from the National Retail Federation's annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. Stacker also looked at Halloween records from the Guinness Book of World Records to bring readers 25 fascinating facts about Halloween.

Take a few moments before you head out this Halloween to learn some devilish details about the spooky holiday.

Readers will learn many Halloween fun facts, including how much people spend on Halloween, the top costumes for children and pets, the state that harvests the most pumpkins, and the original name of the Disney movie "Hocus Pocus." Grab your bucket of candy corn, click through Stacker's list, and let the fun begin.

You may also like:How Halloween has changed in the last 100 years

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David Castor // Wikimedia Commons

There is a word to describe a fear of Halloween.

Readers who suffer from samhainophobia are most likely not reading this slideshow because of their phobia of Halloween. Although many sufferers may understand that there is no real danger, they're afraid of Oct. 31. People who have samhainophobia might also fear ghosts, witchcraft, and darkness.

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Maleo // Shutterstock

The largest pumpkin ever measured weighed 836 lb.

Norm Craven grew the largest pumpkin ever measured. His 836-pound pumpkin broke the world record in 1993.

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Matt Cardy // Getty Images

Halloween is not the holiday's only moniker.

While children may call Oct. 31 the best day of their lives, Halloween has many names. Samhain, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, Witches Night, Summer's End, and Snap-Apple Night are other names for the holiday.

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Pelevina Ksinia // Shutterstock

In one state, a clergy costume is a misdemeanor.

Alabamians donning clergy costumes are considered to be breaking the law and may be subject to a $500 fine and up to a year in jail. Note to self, when in Alabama on Oct. 31 do not dress up as a priest, rabbi, or nun.

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JLMcAnally // Shutterstock

Can you guess the calorie count of a bag of Halloween candy?

A consumer report noted that the average calorie count of a bag of Halloween candy is 11,000. Wonder how many Weight Watchers points that equals?

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Mihaela Bodlovic // Wikimedia Commons

The turnip has a place in Halloween history.

People walked the streets in Ireland carrying hollowed-out turnips with candles inside in Halloween's early history. This practice is believed to be the precursor of today's ritual of creating carved pumpkins called jack-o'-lanterns.

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FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP // Getty Images

Halloween sales expected to reach $8.8 billion.

Shoppers are reported to spend an average of $86.27 this Halloween. Last year they spent $86.79. Total spending is projected to be $8.8 billion, slightly down from last year's $9 billion.

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Canva

29 million people will buy a costume for their pet.

Twenty-nine million people will don their furry friends in costumes. The most popular pet costumes include a pumpkin, hot dog, Superhero, bumblebee, and cat.

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Elena Dijour // Shutterstock

Princesses lead the costume parade.

An estimated 3.1 million children plan to dress up as their favorite princess this Halloween. Superheroes took the second spot at 2.4 million, followed by Spider-Man at 2 million. Another 1.5 million children will wear an Avenger character other than Spider-Man, and 1.4 million kids will dress up as Batman.

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Anthony Kwan // Getty Images

The trade war with China will impact Halloween plans.

NRF's Annual 2019 Halloween Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, noted that 14% of those surveyed said that concerns about the economy would impact their Halloween plans. It is important to note that most of the Halloween merchandise was in the United States before the 15% consumer goods tariff took effect on Sept. 1.

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Keystone // Getty Images

Apple bobbing began with the Romans.

Some scholars link Halloween to the Roman festival honoring the goddess of fruit trees, Pomona. During the festival, people would try to get an apple floating in water with their teeth. Whoever bit the apple first would be the next to get married.

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riptheskull // Flickr

Some Halloween rituals involved matchmaking.

In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook may add a ring to her mashed potatoes on Halloween eve hoping to inspire true love to the lucky diner who discovers it. Fortune tellers in Scotland advised eligible lasses to name a hazelnut for each of their suitors. They should then toss the nuts into a fireplace and see which one burned to ashes to identify their future husbands.

You may also like: A timeline of Halloween history

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Illinois is the top pumpkin-producing state.

Farmers in the top five pumpkin-producing states garnered just over 1 billion pounds of pumpkins in 2018. Illinois tops other states with over 500 million pounds of pumpkins produced in 2018.

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Candy Corn Day is Oct. 30.

Fans of the tri-color triangular candy can celebrate the confection on Oct. 30. Did you know that candy corn is also enjoyed on Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter? Candy corn also includes new flavors, including peppermint and pumpkin spice.

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alexkich // Shutterstock

The fastest pumpkin carving was achieved in 16.47 seconds.

American Stephen Clarke holds the record of carving a pumpkin in the fastest time at 16.47 seconds. The feat was accomplished on Oct. 31, 2013, and included carving a full face, complete with eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.

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Dave Etheridge-Barnes // Getty Images

The origin of the word bonfire is quite creepy.

Did you know that word bonfire is derived from Middle English "bonefire," which literally means "fire of bones?" An earlier citing of the word is ignis ossium, which is Latin for "fire of bones."

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Bettmann/Corbis // Wikimedia Commons

Magician Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926.

Magician Harry Houdini passed away from peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix on Oct. 31, 1926. He was 52.

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The world record for carved and lit jack-o'-lanterns is 30,581.

A pumpkin festival in Keene, N.H., broke the world record for having the most carved and lit jack-o'-lanterns. The display of 30,581 set the record in 2013, breaking Boston's record in 2006.

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Fox Photos/Hulton Archive // Getty Images

World War II put a pause on trick-or-treating.

During World War II, sugar was rationed, meaning there were fewer treats. Trick-or-treating resumed its place in the Halloween activities after the baby boom post-war.

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EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP // Getty Images

Halloween is the second-largest commercial holiday in the nation.

Christmas still rings in as the top commercial holiday in the country. Halloween trails at #2, with people spending over $9 billion to celebrate the spooky holiday.

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Walt Disney Pictures

'Hocus Pocus' was not the original name for the movie.

The original title for Disney's "Hocus Pocus" was "Halloween House." It was also supposed to be a lot darker and scarier.

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Michael Buckner // Getty Images for UNICEF

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF began in 1950.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF began in 1950 to help children affected by World War II. Millions of children across the country go door to door on Halloween with UNICEF and have helped to raise more than $175 million over the last 69 years.

You may also like: How Halloween has changed in the past 100 years

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steveisaacs // Wikimedia Commons

Silly String is illegal in Hollywood on Oct. 31.

Silly String has been banned in Hollywood since 2004. Offenders will be slapped with a sticky $1,000 fine.

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Rusty Dodson // Shutterstock

The record for the most pumpkins carved in an hour was set on a TV show.

Trevor Hunt set the record for the most pumpkins carved in one hour on the set of NBC's "The Meredith Vieira Show." He deftly carved 109 pumpkins on Oct. 21, 2014.

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Halloween's signature colors celebrate autumn and black.

Orange celebrates autumn's changing leaves and endurance, while black is thought of as the color of death. The Celtics may have launched this color mix to prepare for the upcoming winter and celebrate the dead for the Samhain holiday.

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