Frequently asked questions about Halloween

Q: Where did Halloween celebrations originate?
A: According to, the ancient origins of Halloween date back to the early Celtic, who lived 2,000 years ago, in the area now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France. The Celtics celebrated their new year on Nov. 1. This holiday was known as Samhain (pronounced: sow-in).

Q: How did Halloween get started?
A: The Celts thought the barrier between demotions would become cracked at the end of the summer. They would have a masquerade to scare off the creatures who got through the cracks, according to the BBC.
Q: What caused trick-or-treating to become a tradition?
A: During the Celtic celebration of Samhain, villagers cloaked themselves to drive away any unwanted phantoms. Feast tables and food were left out to calm the unwanted spirits.
In later dates, people started to dress as demons, ghosts and other scary creatures. They would then perform jokes and stunts to barter for food and drinks. This custom is thought to be an antecedent of trick-or-treating.
During the ninth century, Christians honored the dead on Nov. 2, which was known as All Soul’s Day. Poor people would knock on doors of wealthier families and receive pastries known as soul cakes in exchange for hopes and prayers for their souls. This tradition was later taken up by children who would go door to door asking for food, money and ale.
Now children across the U.S. go door to door in search of sticky goodness.
Q: Where did the bobbing for apples tradition originate?
A: Bobbing for apples started as a tradition in the Roman Empire. This is where Romans dedicated a day to the goddess of apples and trees, Pomona, according to the Prairie State Librarians’ website. It progressed when the Celts started the tradition of including apples for the Samhain celebration.
This then became a common tradition in the U.S. and Scotland.
Buckets are filled with water and guests would try to extract the apples only using their mouths. In Scotland, it was believed that when maidens tried retrieving the apple they could see the reflection of their future husbands.
Q: Who invented candy corn?

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A: In the 1880s, Wunderlee Candy Company employee George Renninger first produced candy corn. The Goelits Candy Company, now known as Jelly Belly Candy Co., has been producing the triangle tri-colored candies since 1898. This is according to
Q: What was the original Jack-o-lantern?
A: According to, “turnips and large potatoes served as the early canvases” to create the ghoulish faces that we now see on pumpkins.
Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, the home of the pumpkin. Then carving pumpkins became a significant part of Halloween.
Q: Was there any folk tales about the Jack-o-lantern?pexels-photo-112353
A: There was a folk tale about an Irishman named Stingy-Jack. In the story, it was said that he invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Stinky-Jack, however, did not want to pay for his drink. Jack was living up to his name. He convinced the Devil to change himself into money to pay for the drink. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the change next to a silver cross, trapping the Devil to where he could not change back into his original form.
Q: What is the background story of Halloween in the U.S.?
A: Celtic and Irish immigrants came over to the United States and then elevated popularity of Halloween during the 19th century. Later, Christians marked it as All Hallows’ Eve on Oct. 31. They celebrated All Saint’s day on Nov. 1.
Throughout the 20th century, it became more prevalent with traditions such as Pumpkin carving and trick or treating.
Q: When did Halloween come to the United States?
A: At first it was celebrated for the harvests that were to come in the 19th century, according to There were public parties, events where neighbors would tell stories of the dead, fortune telling, dances and singing. Halloween was known as the annual autumn festival.
In the 1800s there was a move to make Halloween a holiday. It was centered more around gathering with neighbors and community rather than telling spooky stories, pranks and witchcraft. This led to Halloween parties for children and adults.
Q: How many cultures celebrate Halloween?
A: There are about 21 cultures that celebrate Halloween. Most of them have their own interpretation of what Halloween is all about. On the night of Halloween in Ireland, children and adults dress up as ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches and goblins. They then light bonfires and enjoy spectacular fireworks.
In Singapore, Halloween is known as Hungry Ghosts Festival. They even do scare fests also known as Halloween Horror Nights mentioned on
Q: Why do people dress up for Halloween?
A: Oct. 31 was the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was the beginning of winter and the crops and nature in general were killed off naturally. Oct. 31 was once the day of honoring the dead and warding off evil, harmful spirits. This gives precedence as to why the costumes we wear are rather frightening.
“Dressing up was started in County Cork, Ireland,” stated on the web site, where the tradition of scary costumes was honored.
This transformed into something new in the 1920s when companies grasped onto that costumes could be anything that you wanted to be.
Q: What is the superstition of black cats? Why are they considered bad luck?
A: There are a couple of superstitions about black cats.
During the middle ages black cats were related to a sinister quality. It was believed that black cats and black ravens were a sign on death or that death would soon appear. If a black cat crossed your path, you would have bad luck.

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