The Things You Didn't Know About Halloween

by Julian Sonny

As we all prepare to for Halloween tonight it is important that we stay safe, have a good time and get completely chocolate wasted.

And although millions of us will be celebrating just shortly, not many of us know the true history or tradition of this pedestrian holiday. We have decided to shed some light.

These are the things you didn’t know about Halloween.

10. Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween

They must have been wasted.

9. Halloween is the 3rd biggest retail oppurtunity after Christmas and Easter

Last year Tesco alone took some $55 million in sales from Halloween products. In comparison Mother's Day took $37 million, Valentine's Day $28 million and Father's Day just $20 million. Christmas took $320 million and Easter $110 million. Overall, industry estimates are for a spooktacular $280m boost to trading – 20 times more than ten years ago.

8. Halloween derives from the Celtic Irish Samhain festival, meaning summer's end

During this time people would light bonfires and wear masks to ward off the ghosts of the dead. It also incorporates the Roman harvest festival of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds (thought to be the origin of apple bobbing). Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honour all saints and martyrs - All Saints’ Day - which incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was designated All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

7. About 99% of all pumpkins sold are used as Jack 'o' Lanterns for Halloween

This custom comes from 'souling', a tradition from Ireland where turnips were carved into lanterns to remember souls in purgatory. When many Irish arrived in America during the Potato Famine, they found pumpkins in more plentiful supply and so the turnips were replaced.

6. Trick or treating also derives from souling

In the Middle Ages when the poor would beg door to door for treats in return for saying prayers for the dead - and guising - still practiced in parts of Scotland and first recorded in the late 1800s - where children in disguise sing a song or do another party piece door to door in return for cakes, fruit or money.

5. The tradition for wearing costumes derives from guising

The first mass-produced Halloween costumes appeared in America in the 1930s and it is the Americans we have to thank for the way we celebrate Halloween today.

4. More than 10% of pet owners in America dress their pets in Halloween costumes

It should also be noted that 100% of these people are white.

3. So far more than 2 million people have hit the ‘like’ button on the Cadbury’s Scream Egg Facebook page.

For the uninitiated, it has green slime instead of the familiar yolk centre.

2. In 1964 Helen Pfeil of Greenlawn, New York, was arrested for handing out arsenic-laced sweets to teens

She was considered too old to trick or treat and wanted to start trouble.

1. Approximately 598 million pounds of candy is sold during Halloween season

Thats $1.9 billion worth of sweets sold during the Halloween in America. Nearly 90 million pounds of that is is chocolate.

Top Photo Credit: Getty Images