It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Spooky season is coming to an end and the main event is just around the corner: Halloween. Whether you’re planning on binging your favorite horror movies with a bowl of Halloween candy in your lap or attending the hottest party in your DIY Stranger Things inspired costume, these facts about ancient traditions, superstitions, and trivia about classic Halloween horror will certainly be fun conversation starters!
40 Fun, Creepy and Spooky Halloween Facts
Finding a spider on Halloween night is good luck
In many cultures spiders can be considered a sign of wealth and prosperity. Finding one on Halloween night could mean that a loved one is watching over you.
In Alabama it’s illegal to dress as religious figures for Halloween
Alabama has many strange laws, like outlawing fake mustaches in church or the practice of putting ice cream cones in your back pocket. It’s illegal to dress up as a nun, priest or any other member of the clergy. If you do decide to hit the town in one of those costumes, you could be fined up to $500.
Michael Myers’ mask in Halloween was originally a Captain Kirk mask
The prop department for the film were tasked with finding a mask for the iconic villain Michael Myers in the 1978 cult classic Halloween. They ended up selecting a Captain Kirk mask because it was relatively featureless, they altered the hair and eyes then spray painted it white to bring us the killer’s mask we know and fear today.
Samhain begins on October 31st
Samhain is an ancient celtic tradition celebrating the end of the harvest season and welcoming winter. Modern witchcraft practitioners still celebrate it to this day, though the practices have changed greatly since it began in the 9th century. It is believed the veil is thinned so spirits and fairies can roam freely on the mortal realm.
Samhain festivals are credited for the origin of wearing costumes on October 31st
The celtic Samhain tradition involved lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off the spirits crossing over on the night of October 31st.
The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is a similar tradition in Hong Kong
It is believed on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month every year the gates of the underworld open allowing spirits and monsters to walk among the living again. Families often leave offerings for their ancestors so they can appease the evil spirits.
Black cats on Halloween were often thought to be witches in disguise
Witches shapeshifting has long been a part of their mythology and it is believed that black cats on Halloween could be witches in disguise. Black cats are seen as a bad omen either way, which sadly makes them one of the least likely cats to be adopted.
The knife sound effects from Halloween were achieved by stabbing watermelons
Foley artists use a wide array of mediums to create the sound effects we hear on the big screen. And for the horror classic Halloween watermelons served as the instrument for the sound.
Harry Houdini passed away on Halloween in 1926
Famous escape artist and magician Harry Houdini died from a ruptured appendix on Halloween in 1926. Some believe the sudden appendicitis was brought on by a series of blows to the stomach from just days before.
Scottish women believed they could see their future husbands on Halloween night by looking at wet sheets
In the middle ages, Scottish women would soak a sheet and hang it by the fire in order to catch a glimpse of what their future husbands would look like.
In the 1940s trick or treating was temporarily banned due to the sugar rations
During WWII Americans were forced to ration a lot of things, sugar being one. Because of that trick or treating was banned to avoid the mass amounts of candy and treats being made using sugar.
It’s illegal to use silly string on Halloween in Hollywood
If you’re caught using a can of the stick neon foam you could be fined up to $1,000 and face 6 months of jail time.
France has prohibited people over the age of 12 to wear clown costumes or makeup on Halloween
Prior to the ban, teenagers would dress as clowns and wield weapons causing many arrests due to the violence and chaos. Since the ban, clown-related crime has significantly dropped.
Scrying in a mirror to see the face of your future spouse on Halloween night was common in the 1800s.
In the Victorian era, women on Halloween would sit in a darkened room staring in a mirror hoping it might reveal the face of their future lovers. Scrying is still common today amongst witchcraft practitioners who stare into obsidian mirrors for insight into the future.
Children born on Halloween night are said to have special connections to spirits
Halloween is widely believed to be a time where the veil between the living and the dead is thinned. Children born on this day are believed to have a special connection with the spirits because of that.
A full moon on Halloween only occurs once every 19 years
While full moons are often depicted in Halloween media, it’s actually quite rare in real life. The lunar cycle between full moons is 29.5 days, with October having 31 days it makes full moons rare. On top of that every Halloween full moon is a blue moon! We can catch a glimpse of the next Halloween full moon in 2039.
The Peanuts show and Donald Duck helped revive Halloween in the late 1940s
After the ban on trick or treating due to the sugar rationing Halloween spirit was virtually gone. When the sugar rationing was over candy companies used children’s shows and shorts to advertise their products. With the help of Charlie Brown and Donald Duck they were able to bring excitement to children across America again and revive trick or treating.
Turnips were the first Jack-o-Lanterns
Irish and Scottish folk used turnips to ward off the evil spirits roaming the earth during the thinning of the veil. When they immigrated to America, they discovered pumpkins worked much better.
Some believe hearing an owl hoot on Halloween could be a warning of someone’s death
Owls have long been viewed as an omen of bad luck or death, and hearing the call of an owl on Halloween night could mean someone in your life is in harm’s way.
Jack-o-lanterns got their name from an Irish tale of a man named Jack who was denied entrance into both Heaven and Hell
Stingy Jack is a figure in Irish folklore about a man who tricked the Devil three times to keep him from taking his soul. When he eventually died he was denied entrance to Heaven, and the Devil refused his entrance to Hell. He was left to roam the world carrying a lantern that he would use to lead souls astray.
Samhain tradition involved bonfires to ensure the sun would return after the winter for a bountiful spring
Druids would light fires and throw offerings inside of them during their Samhain festivals to make sure the sun would return and the winters wouldn’t be as long and harsh.
Women used to believe bobbing for apples could help them dream of their future spouse
After bobbing for apples, women would sleep with the apple they bit under their pillow and wait for their future spouse to come to them in their dreams.
Día de los Muertos is a Latino holiday similar to Halloween and celebrated around the same time
Día de los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, it is a holiday meant to celebrate the lives of ancestors. November 1st is a day dedicated to celebrating the life of children who passed away, and November 2nd is dedicated to the adults.
Sugar Skulls are created during Día de los Muertos as offerings for children who passed away
Sugar Skulls are brightly colored and decorated skulls left on the altars for Día de los Muertos alongside toys and treats for the spirits of children who passed away. Latino culture does not see this as a morbid symbol at all, but instead a reminder of the cycle of life.
Some believe that babies born on Halloween will have special abilities
Old wives tales about children born on Halloween would say that they might be born with the gift of foresight allowing them to see into the future.
Ancient Celtics would celebrate Samhain with “dumb supper”
During Samhain celebrations the celtics would invite their deceased relatives to a dinner called Dumb Supper where they would update them on the lives of the living. Meanwhile children would play games and entertain the dead before they were believed to leave.
Halloween is considered a lucky time to announce a pregnancy
Pagans (originally celebrating Samhain) believed it to be a lucky day for big announcements, and sharing the news of a pregnancy could bring good luck to the child.
The script for The Nightmare Before Christmas was written after Danny Elfman wrote the songs for the film
Tim Burton shared the idea and some sketches with Elfman before he began writing the script. Elfman wrote 10 musical numbers then his girlfriend at the time, Caroline Thompson, incorporated the songs into the script.
After the release of Scream the sale of caller IDs tripled
Perhaps one of the most beloved horror franchises ever, Scream (1996) incited a rush of caller ID purchases after its release. The iconic horror villain Ghostface is known for calling his victims and quizzing them on horror movie trivia before attacking. What’s your favorite scary movie?
Monarch butterflies are believed in latino culture to hold the spirits of the dead
During Día de los Muertos celebrations monarch butterflies are cherished as it is believed they hold the spirits of deceased loved ones. This belief stems from the migration of the monarchs to Mexico around that time, coinciding with Día de los Muertos.
The Halloween classic Hocus Pocus originally started as a bedtime story
David Kirschner originally told the story of the Sanderson Sisters to his daughters as a bedtime story. Later he decided to write and produce the film.
The Disney Channel original Halloweentown was filmed in St. Helens Oregon, and every year the town hosts a pumpkin lighting ceremony
The giant jack-o-lantern in the center of Halloweentown was a staple of the cozy Halloween film. Every year the town of St. Helens hosts a family-friendly gathering where they light a replica of the pumpkin to ring in spooky season.
The Simpsons yearly Halloween specials were originally deemed too scary by producers
Producers of the long-running cartoon thought the content of the Treehouse of Horror episodes strayed so far from the normal content and might frighten viewers. For the first few years of running the specials characters like Marge Simpson would break the fourth wall to warn viewers.
The most searched Halloween costume is a witch
According to Google trends the number one search for Halloween costumes in 2022 is a witch. Just after that are Spiderman, Dinosaur, Stranger Things, and Fairy costumes.
Marigolds are used to invite spirits into the homes of relatives during Día de los Muertos
People invite the spirits of their ancestors into their homes by creating a pathway with the vibrant orange flowers leading to their homes.
M&Ms are the most popular Halloween candy
The candy-coated chocolate topped the list of most popular trick-or-treating candies just above Reeses.
In Germany many households hide their kitchen knives on Halloween night
They believe hiding the kitchen knives will allow the spirits of relatives to enter their homes without the risk of injuring themselves with the knives.
Bobbing for apples was originally a romantic party game
In the original British game of bobbing for apples, the name of a potential spouse would be written on the apple. Women would then try and bite the apple of the man they wished to court and they believed they could determine how the relationship would be based on how easy the apple was bitten.
Count von Count on Sesame Street teaches children how to count based on old vampire superstition
It was believed that vampires would be compelled to stop and count spilled grain and seeds or the holes in a fishing net. Some people would spill seeds outside of their door to prevent vampires from entering in the night.
The hit Halloween song “The Monster Mash” was banned in the UK for 11 years
When “The Monster Mash” was released it was at the top of the billboards for 14 weeks, but the BBC thought it was far too morbid to play over radio waves in the UK so they banned it. The ban was reversed in 1973, and it topped the charts once again.