#1 Halloween is older than Bill MurrayHalloween’s roots lie in the festival of Samhain, celebrated by the Celts some 2,000 years ago. Predating Glastonbury, and with better toilet facilities, Samhain marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. It was a spooky time, with the dead returning from the spirit world, just like on Ghostbusters. Bill Murray hadn’t been born yet, so every 31st October, the night before the festival, concerned Celts left offerings of food and wine and would wear masks to fend off the evil spirits.
#2 Thank Christ for HalloweenIn the 8th Century the Catholic Pope Gregory the 3rd turned Samhain into All Saints Day or all All Hallows, the night before which became known as All Hallows Eve which by the 18th Century had turned into Halloween.
#3 Trick-or-treating before HariboIn Medieval times on All Hallows Eve kids would go ‘Guising’; dressing up in costumes asking for money, food, wine (Fangtastics hadn’t been invented yet) in exchange for singing, poetry and jokes.
#4 Potatoes (or lack of them) brought Halloween to AmericaThe million Irishman setting in America in the 9th century after the Irish potato famine brought with them the traditions of Guising. The Irish celebrations focused more on tricks than treats and Halloween only took its current form in the 1950s when it turned into a fun and friendly activity which the whole family enjoys together, with more than enough potatoes for everyone.
#5 Dentists dread HalloweenMore candy is sold in the US in run up to Halloween on 28th October, to the horror of dentists everywhere, than at any other time of the year. Americans spend $6bn a year* on Halloween candy, costumes and celebrations. *Dental bills not included.
#6 It all started with a turnipLong before the Americans started carving up pumpkins for their ‘Jack ‘o’ Lanterns’ on All Hallows Eve, the 19th Century Irish used to turn their turnips into ‘mangel wurzels’ with their hollowed heads and fashioned faces lit to ward off evil spirits.
#7 Stingy Jack should have got an ASBOThe modern day ‘Jack ‘o’ Lantern’ is derived from the tale of a drunken, deceiving and manipulative Irishman called Stingy Jack, who cheated and swindled the devil repeatedly. Though these days Jack would have made parole with an electronic tag and an ASBO, the devil doomed him to roam the world between the planes of good and evil forever with only an ember of inside of a hollowed-out turnip to light his way.
#8 Halloween is New Year Eve for WitchesIntroduced by a British civil servant Gerald Gardner in 1954, Wicca is the religion of choice for any self-respecting Witch or Warlock. The religion has its roots in paganism with the Celtic festival of Samhain acting as Wiccan New Year for those who like to capes, pointy hats and spells.
And here’s your Spooky soundtrack for a Happy HalloweenEvery Halloween needs a spooky soundtrack to get the family in a ghoulishly good mood. We’ve put together a few family friendly Halloween playlists, perfect for all your Halloween preparations and celebrations. Check them out on ROXI now! Here’s a teaser playlist…
- Thriller – Michael Jackson
- Highway to Hell – ACDC
- (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
- The Time Warp – Rocky Horror
- Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
- Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Junior
- I Walked with a Zombie – UK Subs
- Deal with the Devil – Judas Priest
- Two Headed Dogs – Rocky Erickson
- Vampira – The Misfits
- Zombie – The Cranberrys
- Halloween – The Dream Syndicate