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Weird, Wild and Wonderful Halloween History

Weird, Wild and Wonderful Halloween History

We get a ton of questions about everything from the history of Halloween to industry stats and urban legends!

  • Originally known as a Celtic tradition, the word “Halloween” stems from a Catholic holiday known as Hallowmas in which saints are honored and people pray for the recently deceased. Since the Catholic church was trying to convert pagans during medieval times, October 31st was selected because it happened to coincide with the Samhain celebration. 
  • "All Hallow's Eve" evolved into "All Hallow's Even” and by the 18th century, morphed into "Hallowe'en." We here at the Halloween & Costume Association also have a theory… the creative geniuses behind the Netflix hit, Stranger Things just may have selected the name “Eleven” with all this in mind! Whaaat?!?
  • Originally, Trick-or-treating used to be called "guising" or "souling" when the economically disadvantaged ran amok in costumes begging for food and money in exchange for songs and prayers. The Irish finally brought Halloween to the US and by the mid 40’s, with the help of the media and the Peanuts comic strip, trick-or-treating and the whole business of Halloween was booming!
  • We can thank the good ol’ consumerism of the 1970’s for creating the costumes we know today. Outfits that were once meant to scare away evil souls have since evolved into everything from fluffy unicorns to superheroes. And those sexy, revealing get-ups?  All because manufacturers wanted to attract more adult buyers.
  • The colors of Halloween came to be after folks began associating the color with the fall harvest, and black with darkness and death.
  • Arachnophobia has nothing on Samhainophobia, the irrational fear of Halloween. Yes, it is the legit phobia that thousands of people suffer from.
  • Halloween is HUGE, no doubt, it’s 2nd only to Christmas when it comes to most celebrated Holidays, unless you’re a Millennial who claim Halloween as their all-time fave Holiday! Oddly, even though Americans are all about the spooky celebration, the rest of the world is less enthusiastic. In fact, If you live in Australia or France you’d be hard pressed to find a Halloween party to crash.
  • Wild and Weird fact: Houdini, one of the most famous and mysterious magicians who ever lived, died on Halloween night in 1926, wild huh?

For Media Inquiries, Expert Commentary or Product Samples please contact:

Aneisha McMillan
amcmillan@hiaonline.org / 910.849.9003

Weird, Wild and Wonderful Halloween History