What’s the origin of the word “Halloween”?
Are you wondering where the word Halloween originated?
History tells us it all started in medieval times. The All Saints’ Day celebration was referred to as All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day). The evolution of the word is pure semantic – the night before came to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Viola!
How did Halloween start?
Let’s travel 2000 years back in time when the Celts, living in today’s Ireland, UK and Northern France, celebrated the beginning of their New year on November 1st. It marked the end of the summer and harvest, bringing the beginning of the dark winter days. They also believed that on October 31 ghosts of those who passed to the beyond made their way back to earth. To commemorate, they celebrated with a ritual and festival called Samhain. (History)
From this point on, this Celtic festival was passed on and modified from one civilization to another until it shaped itself to what we see today.
Source: Officer Potato @ deviantart.com
Are you afraid of Halloween?
Well, you’re not alone! Psychologists refer to this fear, Samhainophobia. It comes from the word Samhain, which ancient Celts used for their halloween festival.
Other type of Halloween related phobias that you should be aware of are:
- Zombies – Kinemortophobia;
- Vampires – Sanguivoriphobia;
- Witches – Wiccaphobia;
- Clowns – Coulrophobia;
- Spiders – Arachnophobia;
- Cats – Ailurophobia;
- Dark – Nyctophobia;
- Ghosts – Phasmophobia;
- Cemeteries – Coimetrophobia;
- Monsters – Teraphobia;
- Skeletons – Skelephobia, according to Wikia.
With so many phobias out there, some people may develop fear of phobia too. If that happens it’s called Phobophobia, according to Wikipedia. So you better watch out for yourself and stay away of phobias.
What’s the meaning of the Halloween colors?
Have you thought what do the traditional orange and black colors of Halloween symbolize? Orange represents strength, harvest and autumn, while black stands for darkness and the boundary between life and death. (Matthew Santoro)
The tradition originated in Ireland and Scotland, people began placing their own versions of Jack’s lanterns on windows or near doors. They’d carve scary faces into turnips or potatoes to frighten away Stingy Jack (The Legend of “Stingy Jack”) and other lost evil spirits. In England, large beets were the chosen vegetable. Immigrants then brought this jack-o’-lantern tradition along when they came to the United States. Once they discovered pumpkins, a native fruit to the Americas , they realized it’s the perfect jack-o’-lantern vessel! (Matthew Santoro)
Do you avoid crossing paths with a black cat?
This superstition comes from a medieval belief that witches disguised themselves into cats to avoid being detected. (History)
Halloween traditions around the world
The birthplace of Halloween celebrates the holiday similarly as it is celebrated in the United States. Kids are dressed up into costumes and go for trick or treating or “knock-a-dolly” in the evening. People also organize parties, games, treasure hunts. In rural areas, people light bonfires.
Traditional food is a fruitcake called “barnbrack”. It contains a treat that symbolically foretells the future of the person who eats it. A ring signifies an upcoming marriage, a straw means prosperous year ahead. (History)
Spain, Mexico and Latin America
According to Insider, in Mexico and Spain Halloween is known as the Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead”. People dress up in costumes fitting with historical traditions, they also build an altar built at home and put gifts like candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks. The altar is called “ofrendas”. The celebration lasts from October 31 till November 2. On November 2 people visit gravesites of their relatives and symbolically provide food and drinks to the souls of the dead.
According to Interpro, in China the days of the dead are celebrated in festivals such as the Hungry Ghost Festival, the Qing Ming Festival, the Double 9th Festival, and the Spring Festival.
One peculiar thing about the festivals for the dead in China is that some of them are month-long and may happen at a different time in the year because they follow the lunar or the solar chinese calendar. Because of that the Hungry Ghost Festival which follows the lunar calendar happens in July or August on the western calendar. Also the festivals of this nature hold to the Chinese cultural traditions. The clothing, the rituals, the food, all is aligned with the traditions.
Germany and Austria
Halloween is celebrated in Germany, but mainly in large cities. It’s not a widespread celebration, partially because 11 days later, on St. Martinstag (a German holiday), children go door to door with their lanterns, sign a song and get treats like baked goods and candies. Otherwise those that celebrate Halloween, follow the rituals of the traditional Halloween in the U.S. Just instead of trick or treat, children say “Süßes oder Saures”. (Thought&co)
In addition to that in Germany there is a Halloween celebration that happens at the castle called Burg Frankenstein in Darmstadt. It takes time in the second half of October until the first week of November. Individuals and groups can book a ticket and visit the castle for Halloween entertainment. This year it will be the 43rd celebration of Halloween at this castle.There are unconfirmed rumors that Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is inspired by this castle.
In Austria the celebrations are like in Germany, but there is also a famous weekend-long pumpkin festival in the city of Retz, near Vienna. It’s a festival for fun for families and friends, and it includes a parade too. (Thought&co)
Do you know what is the origin of the name Frankenstein?
Did you know that the origin of the name Frankenstein comes from Franks (a german tribe) and Stein a german word for stone. Translated it means Stone of the Franks. (Wikipedia)
In Haiti people commemorate a tradition on November 1 called Fete Gede or Haitian Voodoo. It is believed that on this day the voodoo god Baron Samedi appears. Haitians visit gravesites and pay respect to their deceased relatives by bringing food, drinks, flowers and rum. (Online Travel Consultant)
Halloween in Japan was popularised after the introduction of a Halloween event at Tokyo Disneyland theme park in 2000. Because of the positive reception of this event it was maintained in the following years and introduced by other theme parks like Universal Studios Japan and Sanrio Puroland. Furtner on Halloween as a celebration was widely accepted among the Japanese society and it’s celebrated on October 31.
However unlike the western type of Halloween, in Japan there is no trick or treating. Instead Japanese people like very much to dress up and to make interesting creative costumes. The street parties are also very popular and Halloween trains too. (Jrailpass)
People in Nigeria don’t celebrate typical Halloween. Instead they celebrate the Awuru Odo Festival from November to April. Odo represents the souls of the dead. Families prepare welcome ceremonies for the arrival or the spirits. Men prepare masks and shrines, while women feasts. The holiday ends in April with a staged ritual that depicts the arrival and departure of the spirits on Earth. This holiday is celebrated every second year.
In the Philippines there is a Pangangaluluwa holiday that happens on October 31. This holiday is similar to Halloween from the perspective that children go out door to door, dressed in costumes and sing songs, but instead of asking for treats, they ask for prayers for the dead who are in purgatory. Nowadays, this traditional holiday loses its popularity, and instead it takes more elements from the western Halloween. (ProQuest)
In Cambodia the holiday closest to the nature of Halloween but also very different from it, is called Pchum Ben and it is tied to the belief that the spirits of the dead come back to visit the living. The holiday starts at the end of September and ends in the mid of October. During this period monks prepare Buddhist temples called pagodas. The monks spend hours chanting buddhist mantras in the temples, worshiping the departed. People also practice different rituals in this time period and visit the temples. On the last day of the holiday they also provide food and candles as gifts for the monks and the spirits of the deceased. (ProQuest)
What are the most popular Halloween costumes?
They say you can’t beat the classics, well, it seems statistics agrees! Over 2.7 million (NRF 2020 survey) kids choose a fairytale Halloween with a princess costume. When they’re not ruling a kingdom, they’re out saving the world – the second most popular costume is Spiderman himself. This Superhero lags behind in popularity, coming in at 1.8 million (NRF 2020 survey) kids’ choice.
What do the grown ups have to say in the matter? While the kiddos gravitate towards the light the adults prefer the dark side, choosing the witch; the top choice for over 4.6 million people, and the vampire (clearly another unbeatable classic), as costume favorites. If you wander what should you be for Halloween, this will help you.
So, what about man’s best friend? The winning choice for pets is a pumpkin! (Rent)
Amount of candy sales for Halloween
25% of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween. (History)
Best Halloween candy
If you want to prepare well for handing out candies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the best choice you can make. and the second best choice is Twix, according to Purewow.
Worst Halloween candy
If you cannot find the best candy, perhaps you want to avoid making the mistake handing out the worst candy. According to Purewow the worst one is strawberry hard candy. Double Bubble gum is the second worst choice that you can make 🙂
What is the most commonly consumed Halloween candy in the U.S. after chocolate?
Candy Corn. The candies preceding the Candy Corn in the ranking provided by Purewow and other sources are mainly chocolate based or are considered to be a sort of chocolate. Unlike them Candy Corn does not contain chocolate.
How big is Halloween commercially?
Watch out, Santa, you’ve got competition! Halloween is the 2nd top grossing holiday, right after Christmas. (Matthew Santoro)
Names with creepy meanings
Some names have spooky meaning (The List):
- Saskia – a name with german origin and it means “knife”
- Thora – thunder goddess
- Thana – some say it’s derived from Thanatos, a greek god of death
- Deyanira – man destroyer
- Mara – Hebrew name meaning “bitter”
- Corentin – boys name meaning hurricane, tempest
- Cain – spear or possessed
- Samael – demon
Top 5 top grossing horror movies
The movies earnings are adjusted for inflation (Forbes):
- Jaws (1975) ($1.154 billion)
- The Exorcist (1973) ($996.5 million)
- Ghostbusters (1984) ($641.3 million)
- The Sixth Sense (1999) ($518.8 million)
- Gremlins (1984) ($409.8 million)
What is the scariest horror movie ever made?
There are different answers to this questions, but if you are interested which is the scariest movie based on a scientific research method you should hold on to this.
Scientists in UK under the “Science of scare” project assembled fifty participants and exposed them to more than hundred hours of horror movies material. During the experiment the heart frequency of each participant was measured.
One movie stood out above all. It increased the viewers heart rate by 32 percent or up to 86 bits per minute. The name of the movie is “Sinister”, directed by Scott Derrickson. (Noizz)
Creepy websites to scare the “pumpkin” out of you
- Housecreep – it will help you find properties and houses where someone died, murder houses, haunted houses, grow ops, meth labs.
- Death date – if you are interested to understand when you are supposed to die.
- Creepypasta – are you a fan of horror fiction? If so, this should be a good resource for you.
- World births and deaths – it shows you real time simulation of world births and deaths by country
- The Simulation Argument – it’s based on three main prepositions and one on them says: ”we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation”
- Staggering Beauty – a website with a worm-like creature that follows your mouse and goes crazy when you move your mouse rapidly
Most sought-after creepy creatures on the Internet
Forget about Oogie Boogie, Jack Skellington, Zero, Sally, goblins, ghouls, cats and spiders. Ghost is the most searched Halloween character on Google since 2015. It’s been followed by Witch, Vampire and Zombie and they are neck and neck right now in 2020 despite the big differences in the search interest for each of them in the past years. Skeleton seems to have the most constant fan base, and he lurks underneath as always.
The absolute volume of searches globally for ghost as a search term is highest in the United States, but as a proportion of all search queries within a country Greenland is the leader in the world.
For vampire the situation is different. The absolute volume and the relative proportion of searches for vampire is highest in Romania. No wonder having in mind that Dracula is associated with the region of Transylvania and the Bran Castle where Dracula supposedly made his career 🙂
The absolute volume and the relative proportion of searches for zombies in highest in Vietnam, for skeleton Nigeria is the place with most searches, and Namibia is the country with highest relative searches for skeleton.
For witches United States is the country with most absolute and relative searches.
NASA’s space soundwaves
NASA released sound recordings from space and our solar system. Have a look, some of the sounds are eerie like from a horror movie soundtrack. Check out the sounds of Chandra X-ray Observatory: Cassiopeia A, Silicon and other recordings.
Selected Halloween jokes
Source: (Yellow Blogtopus)
- If one door opens when another one closes… Your house is haunted.
- Why was the ghost arrested? Possession.
- What did the ghost say to the psychiatrist? I used to be somebody.
- What did the witch say to her new husband? Take a good look, it’s the only time you’ll see me holding a broom.
- Vampires sleep all day. Fly wherever they want for free. Can’t see themselves in a mirror. – Where do I sign up?
- Why wouldn’t the barman get the ghost a drink? Because they didn’t serve spirits.
- What words of wisdom did Mum give to her kids on Halloween night? Remember kids, I like Snickers, M and M’s and Peanut Butter Cups.
So realistic Halloween decoration
According to Dallas Observer, Steven Novak’s Halloween decorations in his yard were so realistic that Dallas police had to visit him multiple times this October because of complaints and reports to the police department. Check out his creation, it’s like a crime scene from a movie.
Halloween 2020 statistics and statistical facts
Spending for Halloween in 2020
U.S. consumer spending is anticipated to decrease by 8.3% in 2020, to $8.05 billion, compared to $8.78 billion in 2019. (The Balance)
Individuals in the U.S. who will participate in Halloween this year may spend up to 6.8% more than last year. In 2019, the average spend was $86.27, and those who say they’ll celebrate Halloween this year expect to spend an average of $92.12. (The Balance)
Expected annual expenditure in the United States in 2020 by categories of expenditure is $2.6 billion for costumes, equal amount of $2.6 billion for decorations, $2.4 billion for candies, and $0.4 billion for greeting cards. (Statista)
Plans to celebrate Halloween in 2020 by demographics
In 2019 57% of all adults celebrated Halloween. This year the expectation is that 42% of all adults will celebrate Halloween. Across the age groups the proportion is as follows (Coupon Lawn):
- Generation Z : 66% celebrated Halloween last year and 57% will celebrate it this year.
- Generation Y: 71% in 2019 and 57% in 2020
- Generation X: 59% in 2019 and 40% in 2020
- Baby boomers: 43% in 2019 and 29% in 2020
Covid-19 and Halloween celebration
39.85% say that Covid-19 will affect how they will celebrate Halloween this year, 28.5% say it won’t affect them how they are going to celebrate the holiday, and 31.65% are unsure if it will affect their celebration. (Statista)
In 2019 78% of the adult population allowed their children to go trick-or-treating. In 2020 38% of the adult population plans to allow their children to do that, 31% won’t allow them and 31% are unsure. (Coupon Lawn)
In 2020 151 million people plan to be engaged in carving pumpkins. (Coupon Lawn)
Pumpkin price is expected to be increased from $4.04 in 2019 to $4.18 in 2020. (Coupon Lawn)
How will Halloween be celebrated this year in the U.S.?
62% plan to hand out a candy, 53% will decorate their home, 46% will carve a pumpkin, 46% will dress in costume, 23% will take their children trick-or-treating, 22% will throw or attend a party, 18% will dress pet in a costume, 15% will visit haunted house. (Coupon Lawn)
For those determined to go trick-or-treating in the communities where it is allowed, Covid-19 face masks can actually help make your Halloween costume even more interesting and creative. There are plenty of face mask choices that you can find online.
Anyway, whatever your face mask choice is, make sure you are wearing a mask that provides you real protection from Covid-19 so that you can have covid safe trick or treating. You can find more information on this in the Covid-19 face masks article.
P.S. If you want to find out more about Thanksgiving too, check out our Thanksgiving statistics article.