Spooky Facts to Know and Tell

By Sara Hoffmann
Senior Editor

800px-Jack-o-lantern-FR[1] I tend to come across a lot of random information in my job. Most editors probably do. While I don’t remember all of it, the most interesting facts I learn have a way of sticking with me. In the spirit of the upcoming Halloween weekend, I thought I’d pass along some Halloween-related facts that I’ve retained. (I have quite a few of these, having once edited a book on Halloween.) Feel free to share these at any Halloween parties you may be attending this weekend!

• Illinois is the nation’s #1 producer of pumpkins—so you may have an Illinois farmer to thank for your glowing jack-o’-lanterns and tasty pumpkin pie this fall.

• Our very own Anoka, Minnesota, is the Halloween Capital of the World. The first Halloween celebration in the United States is believed to have taken place there in 1920.

• In addition to Halloween, October 31 is National Magic Day—a day set aside for honoring magician Harry Houdini. You can celebrate by reading our History Maker Biography about the illusionist.

• Some other countries in which Halloween is celebrated include Canada, Ireland, Wales, England, and Scotland.

• In Ireland, people used to carve turnips on Halloween. But when Irish immigrants came to the United States, they found that pumpkins were easier to come by than turnips. They began using the orange orbs for their jack-o’-lanterns.

• The tradition of trick or treating most likely came from an old European custom called souling. Souling entailed going door to door begging for soul cakes. These little squares of bread had plump currants baked inside. When someone received a soul cake, he or she would promise to pray for the deceased relatives of the person who baked it.

Happy Haunting, blog readers!

(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)