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Trick Or Treat: Fun Facts About Halloween

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Here are some fun facts about Halloween! Because why not learn the holiday’s secrets and origins when you celebrate it every year.

  • Halloween was in early called Samhain which was a festival of the harvest in the Celtic culture. After the Romans took over this land, which became Ireland, they combined it with their Pagan holidays of Feralia (passing of the dead) and Pomona (to honor the goddess of trees and fruit). It is believed that since Pomona’s symbol is an apple this is why people go bobbing for apples!
  • The story of the Jack O’ Lantern is about the story of a character named Stingy Jack and a deal with the devil gone wrong. Jack wanted to have a drink with the devil and to pay for their drinks he wanted the devil to turn into a coin. Protected by a cross (which prevents the devil from returning to his original form), the Devil promises Jack that he will not claim a soul when he dies, but Jack still tricks him which makes the Devil (rightfully so) angry. So, ten years go by and Jack’s soul is trapped on this earth between heaven and hell because God doesn’t like this trickster and cruel soul and the Devil, well is still angry about the whole trickster thing for so long. Jack is then set to roam the earth for eternity only with a carved out turnip (which then later becomes pumpkins in the US). This legend becomes known as Jack of the Lantern or in Irish speak, Jack O’ Lantern.
  • The history of Trick or Treating in the United States started in the 1920’s and 1930’s when young children and teenagers became to turn Halloween into a more violent holiday full of mischief, vandalism, and fist-fights. It is thought that by giving the kids treats it would stop them from vandalizing their yard and tricking them.
  • The old history of Trick or Treating in Europe started in the Middle ages, when the Celts dressed as demonic creatures during the celebrations of Samhain. They thought if they wore the scary costumes, it would ward away the evil spirits that returned to earth and offered them food to appease them. This custom is known as mumming. Much later in Medieval times, poorer people would come door to door of richer people asking for food or anything and the rich would give them soul cakes (so that they could pray for their dead relatives), later children began to ask for these things of the houses too.
  • Aren’t Black Cats cute, not evil? The black cat is seen as a messenger of Lucifer (yes, the devil’s name, not Tom Ellis) and a symbol of black magic. During the Salem Witch Trials and other Witch burnings alone, tons of black cats were also burned at the stake, because they are seen as the demonic messenger and used for the possession of black magic. It is believed that witches have the power to turn into black cats. In Celtic tradition, priests would sacrifice (yes, kill) cats as a part of being able to tell the future. It is a tradition that people should definitely keep their black cat inside when it is the month of October to prevent endangerment to the animal and many animal shelters prohibit them from being brought in.
  • What is the “witching hour”? It is a time of night between 2 to 4 am that is when the veil of the access points between the three worlds, heaven, purgatory, and earth is thin. This is when souls can pass and interact with the living.
  • Here is the crazy story about a black cat in DC, an evil one. Also called the phantom cat or the demon cat (get it DC?!). This cute little house-cat turned elephant sized tiger that lurks in the basement of the White House and Capitol building (you know the tunnels that connect all three branches of government) . This cat is encountered before a major disaster in American history happens like Lincoln’s era and the Civil War, the Stock Market Crash of 1929, and John F. Kennedy’s Assassination. Night watchmen see this inviting cat in the basement and when followed it turns into a tiger, it is then a predictor for a bad thing to happen.

A psychology major and Sophomore at the College of Charleston. From Northern Virginia.
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