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Halloween is coming. It has a very long and storied past, rich with tradition and lore but it is not just costumes and candy. There are many interesting facts about the holiday that may surprise you. Check it out and enlighten yourself with our 10 discovered facts:

Interesting fact about Halloween

10. The moniker “Halloween” comes from the Catholics

Hallow-mas is a three-day Catholic holiday where saints are honored and people pray for the recently deceased. At the start of the 11th century, it was decreed by the pope that it would last from Oct. 31 (All Hallow’s Eve) until Nov. 2, most likely because that was when Samhain was celebrated and the church was trying to convert the pagans.  “All Hallow’s Eve” then evolved into “All Hallow’s Even,” and by the 18th century it was commonly referred to as “Halloween.”

9. Dressing up on Halloween comes from the Celts.

Celts believed Samhain was a time when the wall between our world and the paranormal world was porous and spirits could get through. Because of this belief, it was common for the Celts to wear costumes and masks during the festival to ward off or befuddle any evil spirits.

8. The tradition of carving jack-o’-lanterns made from turnips instead of pumpkins

Interesting fact about Halloween

Turnip jack-o’-lanterns

The act of carving Jack-o’-Lanterns is a little more spooky than you might assume. It developed from a ghastly Celtic folklore. A drunken farmer named Jack tricked the devil but then he wasn’t allowed into either heaven and hell. Stuck in this ethereal limbo, Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal that the devil threw from hell. So Celts placed Jack-o’-Lanterns with frightening faces outside to scare evil spirits away. People kept carving faces into hollowed-out turnips, but when the Irish potato famine of 1846 forced families to flee to North America, turnips were hard to come by. People kept the tradition alive by using pumpkins as a substitute.

7. Halloween symbols aren’t random

Interesting fact about Halloween

Black cats, spiders, and bats are all Halloween symbols because of their spooky history and ties to Wiccans. All three were thought to be the familiars of witches in the middle ages, and are often associated with bad luck. Bats are even further connected to Halloween by the ancient Samhain ritual of building a bonfire, which drove away insects and attracted bats.

6. Trick-or-treating has been around for a long time

Versions of trick-or-treating have existed since medieval times. In the past, it was known as “guising” where children and poor adults went around in costumes during Hallowmas begging for food and money in exchange for songs or prayers. It was also called “souling”.

5. Image in mirror

Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.

4. The witch

According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.

Interesting fact about Halloween

3. Color

Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.

2. Fastest pumpkin carving record

Stephen Clarke holds the record for the world’s fastest pumpkin carving time: 24.03 seconds, smashing his previous record of 54.72 seconds. The rules of the competition state that the pumpkin must weigh less than 24 pounds and be carved in a traditional way, which requires at least eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth.

1. Spider

According to legend, if you see a spider on Halloween, it’s actually the spirit of a loved one watching over you.

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