Halloween is a time for candy, costumes and scary things, but how did it become this way? Why are children encouraged to run around the neighborhood threatening tricks? Jack-o’-lanterns are a pretty strange concept, but historically, strangers with candy was supposed to be a bad thing. Here are 8 Fun Facts About Halloween that you may not know:
1. Originally, you had to dance for your “treat.”
Most experts trace trick-or-treating to the European practice of “mumming,” or “guysing,” in which costume-wearing participants would go door-to-door performing choreographed dances, songs and plays in exchange for treats.
In some early versions of trick-or-treating, men paraded door-to-door, and boys often followed, begging for coins. Most of these early trick-or-treaters were poor and actually needed the money, but wealthy children also joined in the fun. Door-to-door “begging” was mostly stopped in the 1930s, but re-emerged later in the century to distract kids from pulling Halloween pranks.
2. Halloween is more Irish than St. Patrick’s Day.
Halloween’s origins come from a Celtic festival for the dead called “Samhain.” Celts believed the ghosts of the dead roamed Earth on this holiday, so people would dress in costumes and leave “treats” out on their front doors to appease the roaming spirits. Granted, the Celts were not solely based in Ireland when these customs started taking shape around the first century B.C., but as will be talked about more in a later section, the Irish Celts were the ones who invented the jack-o’-lantern. This Halloween prototype was eventually disrupted and adapted by Christian missionaries into celebrations closer to what we celebrate today, including partly by the not-Irish St. Patrick, whose work was later mostly recognized by Americans.
3. If you’d been around for the earliest Halloween celebrations, you might have worn animal skins and heads.
According to ancient Roman records, tribes located in today’s Germany and France traditionally wore costumes of animal heads and skins to connect to spirits of the dead. This tradition continued into modern day celebrations of Samhain, the Celtic holiday that inspired Halloween in America. On this day, merry-makers often dressed as evil spirits simply by blackening their faces. The leader of the Samhain parades wore a white sheet and carried a wooden horse head or a decorated horse skull (a modern Welsh version of this costume is shown above). Young people also celebrated by cross-dressing.
4. Jack-o’-lanterns were once made out of turnips, beets and potatoes — not pumpkins.
The jack-o’-lantern comes from an old Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack. According to folklore, Stingy Jack was out getting sloshed with the Devil when Jack convinced his drinking partner to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks without spending money. Jack then put the Devil, shaped like a coin, into his pocket, which also contained a silver cross that kept the Devil from transforming back. Jack promised to free the Devil as long as the Devil wouldn’t bother him for a year, and if he died, the Devil could never claim his soul. Jack tricked the Devil again later, getting him to pick a piece of fruit out of a tree and then carving a cross into the bark when the Devil was in the branches. This trick bought Jack another 10 years of devil-free living.
When Jack finally died, God decided he wasn’t fit for heaven, but the Devil had promised never to claim his soul for hell. So Jack was sent off to roam Earth with only a burning coal for light. He put the coal into a turnip as a lantern, and Stingy Jack became “Jack of the Lantern” or “Jack o’ Lantern.” Based on this myth, the Irish carved scary faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away Stingy Jack or any other spirits of the night.
5. In a few American towns, Halloween was originally referred to as “Cabbage Night.”
This came from a Scottish fortune-telling game, where girls used cabbage stumps to predict information about their future husbands. In the early Framingham, Massachusetts, teens skipped the fortune-telling and simply went around throwing cabbage at their neighbors’ houses, according to Framingham Legends & Lore. This was no isolated tradition: In late 19th century America, country boys reportedly rejoiced in throwing cabbage, corn and assorted rotten vegetables, according to “Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure.”
6. Studies have shown that Halloween actually makes kids act more evil.
Putting costume-wearing kids into groups and introducing a clear object of desire, such as candy, has been shown to lead to “deindividuation.” This psychological term explains what happens when a group of maturing young minds begins to care less about the consequences of their individual actions, leading them to do things that they might not do alone.
One study in particular found that unsupervised costumed children in groups were far more likely to steal candy and money than both non-costumed kids and children not in a group. Another similar study found that masked children were significantly more likely to take more Halloween candy than they were supposed to if they believed there was no adult supervision.
Virginia is brilliant for fabulous Fall getaways
15 million acres of foliage burst into spectacular color!
Steal away for a few-day getaway. You deserve an enjoyable scenic drive through the foliage, the opportunity to savor Virginia’s culinary and beverage delights, and above all, the time to reconnect with your loved ones. Virginia clothed in autumn colors is a beautiful sight to behold.. Experience farms transformed into playgrounds with apple picking, harvest festivals, corn mazes, and hay rides through pumpkin patches. Or perhaps fall leads you to the coast, where migrating fowl are the only crowd you’ll find. Whatever you choose, Virginia’s scenic roadways will show off the striking natural beauty along the way.
Take the road less traveled.
Enjoy photogenic foliage opportunities, great eats, and other hidden treasures.
Fall in the Heart of the Shenandoah Valley With four distinct seasons, each offering an unparalleled experience, plan an unforgettable trip— any time of year—to the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley
Mountains to Main Streets – Fall Escape Explore the Main Streets of Harrisonburg, Waynesboro and Luray or discover all the fun at Massanutten Resort
Leaf Peeping on Skyline Drive Skyline Drive – a National Scenic Byway – traverses 105 miles in Shenandoah National Park and affords outstanding views
Find Your Passion Along the Blue Ridge Mountains Sip Barren Vineyard’s wine, take in the thriving arts and culinary culture of Staunton, and absorb the surrounding beauty
Autumn Splendor in the Cabin Capital of Virginia This fall when you visit the Cabin Capital of Virginia, you can bring your dinner jacket and tie but you’ll also want to pack your favorite jeans, some comfy shoes and an old sweater!
Follow the Apple Trail this Fall in Winchester Follow the scenic roads of Frederick County and learn about Winchester’s apple heritage
Autumn at Skyland Resort Mountain explorations are especially refreshing in the fall. Take the scenic drive of Shenandoah National Park
From the Bridge to the Ridge From a Natural Bridge to ripe pears and the Valley’s historic gem of Lexington, this getaway ushers you to family fun and entertainment
Historic Harrisonburg, George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park Offering hiking and biking trails; rich history and heritage, and within minutes of the George Washington National Forest, spectacular views from 4,398 feet above most other mountains.
Fall in Love with Luray Looking for miles of colorful countryside, Civil War trails, vistas, rivers, parks, and small town charm? Look at Luray!
Shenandoah Valley: Your Base Camp for Outdoor Adventure Secluded trails, scenic byways, and picturesque blueways offer a natural getaway from the hustle and bustle. With so many options for outdoor fun, you may wonder where to start!
Getaway to the Star City in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains Have a fun-filled, affordable, three-day fall getaway in Roanoke
Blue Ridge Highlands
Mountain Majesty Getaway to the Blue Ridge Parkway Travel the Blue Ridge Parkway and absorb fall’s beauty. From Mabry Mill to Chateau Morrisette – the perfect getaway
Autumn on The Crooked Road This amazing fall getaway will create memories you’ll treasure for a lifetime, beginning in Ferrum and ending in Damascus.
Getaway to Richmond History: Always in Season Explore a variety of architectural styles in the region’s beautifully preserved homes
Jeepers Creepers Leaf Peepers From scenic drives to area attractions, from dew-drenched vineyards to evenings of jazz.
Fall in Fairfax County Fall is when you’ll find Fairfax County, Virginia and the surrounding area at its authentic best
Escape to Loudoun’s Wine Country this Fall Explore Loudoun, Virginia with visits to some of our numerous wineries
Southern Style Romance in Lake Country Grab your hiking boots, life jacket, and sense of adventure as you explore Southern Virginia through scenic
From Moonshine to Motorsports Martinsville-Henry County has everything a little something for everyone.
Heart of Appalachia
The Best of the Heart of Appalachia Spend your next 48 hours in beautiful Wise County, Virginia!
Chesapeake Bay Driving Tour The Chesapeake Bay region boasts more than 6,500 acres of natural areas and 1,100 miles of shoreline.
Getaway to Mathews and the Chesapeake Bay Do Mathews and celebrate life on the Chesapeake Bay!
Getaway to the Northern Neck and Chesapeake Bay Escape to the quiet, laid-back land by the Bay with outdoor activities and delicious seafood
Coastal Virginia – Eastern Shore
Experience Virginia’s Eastern Shore: Cape Charles to Chincoteague From Seaside to Bayside
Sunday is Father’s Day, the annual holiday where Americans celebrate the men who made them. You may love dear old dad, but how much do you actually know about the observance in his honor? Brush up on your Interesting Father’s Day Facts and make your Papa proud!
History of Father’s Day
This isn’t an especially interesting story, but Father’s Day officially began in 1910 in Spokane, Washington, where 27-year-old Sonora Dodd proposed it as a way to honor the man who raised her when her mom died in childbirth. Dodd was at a church service thinking about how grateful she was for her father when she had the idea for Father’s Day, which would mirror Mother’s Day but be celebrated in June — her dad’s birthday month.
The movement grew for years but didn’t gain national-event status until 1924 under former President Calvin Coolidge. He said it would “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children” and “impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations,” according to the Library of Congress Wise Guide. The holiday gained traction during World War II, and in 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday of June to be Father’s Day. President Richard Nixon made it a federal holiday six years later.
Today, Father’s Day has a passionate following, with about three-quarters of Americans telling the National Retail Federation they plan to celebrate on Sunday.
Here are some interesting facts about Dads and their day:
Census data shows there are more than 70.1 million dads in the U.S. About a third of them are married with kids under 18.
Two million fathers are single.
Spending on Father’s Day will reach about $12.7 billion this year, with the average person spending about $115.57 on presents. That’s about $2 more than last year’s average.
The amount spent on Father’s Day is still less than what Americans spend on Mother’s Day — $21 billion.
About 20 percent of Father’s Day cards are bought for husbands.
More than 214,000 men are stay-at-home dads.
Thailand’s Father’s Day is celebrated in December, on the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Adulyadej served as Thailand’s King for 70 years, since 1946 when he was only 18 years old! Everyone wears yellow on Father’s Day in Thailand.
On Father’s Day in Germany, men drink all day at beer gardens.
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