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.
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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.
Norm Craven grew the largest pumpkin ever measured. His 836-pound pumpkin broke the world record in 1993.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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."
Magician Harry Houdini passed away from peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix on Oct. 31, 1926. He was 52.
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.
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.
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.
The original title for Disney's "Hocus Pocus" was "Halloween House." It was also supposed to be a lot darker and scarier.
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.
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Silly String has been banned in Hollywood since 2004. Offenders will be slapped with a sticky $1,000 fine.
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.