Pumpkins, ghosts, and scary movies. Think you know all there is about Halloween? The holiday dates back thousands of years and is celebrated by nearly 200 million Americans each year.
We collected some of the spookiest, strangest, and most unusual Halloween facts for your festivities this year. Entertain your friends and family with these 75 Halloween-themed trivia questions that will surprise your guests.
1. Which other celebration did Halloween originate from?
The Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark winter.
2. When was Halloween first celebrated in the United States?
In the 1840s. Halloween emerged in the U.S. as droves of Irish immigrants arrived and brought their holiday traditions.
3. What Catholic holiday is associated with Halloween?
All Saint’s Day. This Allhollowstide holiday is a celebration of the Catholic saints.
4. Allhallowtide traditionally takes place over how many days?
Three. It includes All Hollows’ Eve, All Hollows’ Day, and All Souls’ Day.
5. Where does the name Halloween come from?
All Hallows’ Eve. Halloween is the contraction of All Hallows’ Eve, the day before All Saint’s Day.
7. How often does a full moon appear on Halloween night?
A full moon appears on Halloween about every 19 years. The next Halloween full moon is expected to appear in 2039.
8. When did Halloween originate?
Some scholars trace Halloween as early back as 4,000 B.C.
9. Before people used pumpkins, which vegetable was traditionally carved each year?
Turnips. Carving scary faces into turnips was a way to ward off the dead.
10. Why are the colors orange and black associated with Halloween?
Orange represents the end of the autumn harvest and black represents the death of summertime.
12. Bobbing for apples is associated with which Roman goddess?
Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees.
13. Where does the Jack-O’-Lantern originate?
From the Irish Folk tale of Stingy Jack, a drunk who conned his way out of hell.
15. According to legend, what will you see if you look into a mirror on Halloween at midnight?
Your future spouse.
16. What does it mean if you see a spider on Halloween?
In the Middle Ages, people believed that seeing a spider on Halloween meant that the spirit of your dead loved one was watching over you.
18. What type of cat is a symbol of good luck?
A white cat.
19. What should you do after bobbing for apples?
Place the apples under your pillow to receive a dream about your future spouse.
20. Where did the tradition of dressing up for Halloween come from?
On Samhain, people dressed up to confuse and ward off evil ghosts.
21. What type of costumes did Celtic people wear for Samhain?
They often covered themselves in animal skins, feathers, and heads.
22. In France, which costume is illegal?
The clown. It is illegal to dress up as a clown if you are over the age of 13 in France.
23. What is the most popular children’s costume?
The princess. The princess again topped the list of the National Retail Federation.
25. Why do people wear masks on Halloween?
Masks were once commonly worn outside on Halloween to confuse spirits walking the land of the living.
26. What is the most common Halloween costume among adults?
27. How much money is spent on pet costumes?
Roughly half a billion. In 2019 Americans spent over $490 million on costumes for their pets.
28. According to a 1979 study, children who wear which costume accessory are more likely to take extra candy?
29. Why were showings of The Exorcist (1973) banned?
For its effects on the audience. Despite the film’s popularity, it was banned in cities across the US and UK as audience members reported that they became physically ill from watching it. Others claimed to watch the film cause their miscarriages and heart attacks.
30. When it premiered in Italy, what name did the film Halloween (1978) go by?
Witch’s Night. Halloween was not widely celebrated in Italy then, so it was marketed as Witch’s Night.
31. The Amityville Horror (1977) is based on which true crime?
The Ronald DeFeo Jr. murders. In 1974, DeFeo killed six family members in their home in Amityville, New York. Prior to the murders, the family reported that paranormal phenomena took place in the house.
32. Where does the saying, “Double, double toil and trouble” come from?
Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Shakespeare wrote these lines as part of the Witch’s Song in his play, Macbeth.
33. Who is the most popular Horror author?
Stephen King. Nicknamed “The Master of Horror”, Stephen King has written over 80 books.
34. What is the Danse Macabre?
The Dance of Death. The Danse Macabre, or the Dance of Death, was a Medieval motif that depicted death summoning subjects to dance around graves. This motif inspired the legend that Death appears on Halloween at midnight.
35. Where was the original Halloweentown filmed in?
St. Helens, Oregon.
37. Who is considered the “Father of Horror” for his scary short stories?
Edgar Allen Poe.
38. What inspired Wes Craven to create A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)?
Craven made the movie after reading newspaper articles about a group of teenagers who died in their sleep after a series of terror-inducing nightmares.
40. Why did crewmembers believe the set of The Exorcist (1973) was haunted?
The crew reported strange events that led them to invite a priest over to bless the set. Nine people who worked on the filming died around the time of its release.
41. Where do the modern depictions of Halloween monsters originate?
From Gothic and Horror literature.
42. Which historical figure inspired Bram Stroker’s Dracula?
Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler.
43. Where did Victor Frankenstein find the body parts to create his creature?
From grave robbing.
44. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, why did Victor Frankenstein only create one being?
He was appalled and afraid of what he had created.
46. Where does Bram Stroker’s Dracula take place?
47. What were the werewolf trials?
Similar to the Witch trials, Medieval Europe tried men who they believed turned into werewolves.
49. Why are witches depicted with broomsticks?
People thought the old witches would need a broomstick to help them navigate through dark forests.
50. When did the modern image of the Grim Reaper appear?
The 14th century amid the Bubonic Plague.
51. Why is Halloween associated with all things scary?
On October 31, Celts celebrated Samhain, the festival that inspired Halloween. Celtic people believed that spirits could come back to the land of the living on this night.
53. When did the first modern haunted house open?
1915. In 1915 an English fair opened the first “ghost house” which resembles modern haunted houses.
54. Why is the sound of an owl considered bad luck?
It was once considered to be a witch signaling that someone would soon die.
55. Where did the commercial haunted house originate?
Attractions in 19th century London filled buildings with scary items and illusions such as decapitated wax figures.
56. Which animals were associated with Samhain?
Cats and bats. Celtic people would sacrifice cats who were believed to be evil spirits by throwing them into firepits. Bats would fly overhead, attracted by the bugs surrounding the pit.
58. According to lore, what supernatural power does a person born on Halloween receive?
The ability to see spirits and fairies.
59. How many calories does a trick-or-treater eat on Halloween night?
About 3,500 calories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the average kid receives 3,500-7,000 calories in candy while trick-or-treating and eats about 3,500 calories that very night.
61. What is the least favorite Halloween candy?
Candy corn. Candy corn is often voted the least popular candy.
62. What do sugar skulls represent?
During Día de Los Muertos, families make sugar skulls to represent a loved one who has passed.
63. What food is believed to have inspired trick-or-treating?
Portugal’s Pão de Deus (‘Bread of God’) was given to children and the less fortunate when they would go door to door singing and praying.
64. Before candy, what type of food did Medieval children receive on Halloween?
Soul cakes. Poor children would pray for the dead family members of those who gave them soul cakes.
65. Where does the saying “trick-or-treat” come from?
Pranksters used to demand a treat, otherwise, the person opening the door was subject to a trick.
66. How many pieces of candy does a trick-or-treater typically receive from each house?
67. How many children go trick-or-treating each year?
73.1 millions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 73.1 million people under the age of 18 trick-or-treat.
Halloween Across the World
68. Where is Halloween celebrated?
Halloween is an American holiday, but versions of the holiday are celebrated throughout the world, especially in countries across Latin America and Europe.
70. Where is the Halloween capital of the world?
71. In which country is the celebration of Halloween illegal?
72. In Merryville, Missouri, which common custom item is illegal?
73. Where did the town of Sleepy Hollow, New York get its name?
From Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Although it inspired the story, it was originally named Tarrytown.
75. Where does the largest Halloween parade take place?
Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York.