Halloween is an enchanted and mystifying time, especially for young children with their lively and vivid imaginations. It is such an enjoyable time for most children as they dress up in costume and go “trick or treating.” The excitement of the children is contagious. Halloween also has an interesting history. Here are a few tidbits of information:
Halloween evolved from a Celtic celebration about 2,000 years ago and as it developed into an American holiday. Numerous folk traditions from early Scottish and Irish immigrants, as well as touches from German, African, English, Haitian and Dutch customs were added to make this unique Holiday what is today.
Here is some interesting trivia about Halloween:
• The ancient Celtic people concealed themselves in gruesome disguises on October 31 so that any wicked spirits they came across would not recognize them as human.
• The jack o’lantern comes from a medieval Irish tradition. They used to carve out turnips and placed candles inside. Then the turnips were positioned on gateposts to keep evil spirits away. When Irish immigrants came to America they started using pumpkins, which were much easier to carve as jack o’lanterns!
• The idea of trick or treating as it exists today became popular between 1920 and 1950.
• In 1950 one school in Pennsylvania started trick or treating for UNICEF. Now it is done nation-wide and has raised almost $160 million to help afford clean water, food, and medicines to needy children worldwide.
• Americans spend about $5 to $7 billion dollars a year on Halloween!!!
This year as your little superhero or goblin or pirate is out trick or treating, think about all of the interesting history that makes Halloween the unique holiday it is today.
BOO and Happy Halloween!
(for more interesting information about Halloween check out Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History by Lesley Bannatyne)