Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About Halloween

Posted October 30, 2019

5 min read

Candy corn. Creative costumes. Trick-or-treating. Frightening zombies. Black cats. Bobbing for apples. Jack-o’-lanterns. Haunted houses. Horror films. An excuse to eat candy in excess…

That’s right, it is officially spooky season thanks to Halloween!

The widely-celebrated, often mysterious holiday is death-adjacent, yet most people don’t feel uncomfortable at all thinking about it or planning for it. Instead, it’s thought of, by most, as a fun holiday that—thanks to social media¬—has also morphed into an opportunity for personal expression.

For all the attention that people give Halloween, we thought we’d mention 4 facts that may just surprise you—and your families—to learn about the ghoulish holiday:

1. People don’t mind investing in this haunted holiday

Halloween is the second-most popular commercial holiday. In fact, 68 percent of people will celebrate this year…and people don’t mind splurging for the festivities (1).

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 67 percent of Halloween shoppers will buy a costume, equating to about $3.2 billion being spent on costumes this year. Another $2.6 billion will be spent on candy, and $2.7 billion on decorations, if you can believe it. On top of that, 34 percent of people surveyed said they’d be buying cards for the holiday, amounting to $390 million in greeting card purchases (1).

Looking at what that means for each person, that’s an average of $86.27 shoppers will spend—down just slightly from last year’s record $86.79

So where do people get inspiration for their costumes? The top source is online. The NRF says there is a noticeable increase in people who are purchasing thanks to inspiration from friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media (1).

2. A growing trend is getting pets involved

Another way people like to show off their spooktacular creativity this time of year: through their beloved pets.

About 29 million people will dress their pets up for Halloween this year, according to the NRF (1). So what are the top 5 most common costumes people plan to put their pets in? Here’s some of the most popular pet costumes this year:

  1. Pumpkin
  2. Hot dog
  3. Superhero
  4. Bumble Bee
  5. Cat (1)

3. Halloween is fun—but it also brings stress along with it

Those that embrace Halloween really love it. But something many people don’t think about is that the holiday actually brings some stress with it, and I’m not talking about the kind of stress people pay for—like at a haunted house.

Case in point: consider the amount of time (and money) parents spend to prepare parties for their kids or to create or help make their costumes.

Others have described Halloween as “more like New Year’s than even, well, New Year’s” for young people thanks to the pressure that comes with Halloween to dress up (2 ,3).

Safety is a whole other issue that reflects the potential stress of the holiday for parents. In fact, kids are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year (4).

Knowing this, I’ve worked with some funeral homes and cemeteries that open their cemeteries as a safe place kids can come to trick or treat; it’s great because it can also work to de-mystify the idea of a cemetery to kids and families alike. The parents (and others) drive to the cemetery and park their cars on the roads inside the grounds. Kids can then trick or treat, from car to car, in the safety of a controlled area, while also being off the street.

4. There are many traditions and customs that resemble Halloween throughout the world

Although Halloween or some of its traditions are celebrated in countries outside of the U.S., other countries have holidays and festivals that also resemble some aspects of what we see as Halloween rituals.

It should be noted that these are completely different celebrations, but here’s a look at five of those traditions that have aspects that may remind you (or your families) of Halloween:

  • Día de los Muertos: Celebrated in Mexico and in other areas with Mexican heritage, the Day of the Dead is an energetic, celebratory holiday that involves prayer for friends and family who have died (5).

  • Samhain (also spelled Samhuinn): With celebration and roots in Ireland and Scotland, this is a three-day New Year celebration that begins when the sun goes down on October 31. Some historians say our current-day Halloween owes part of its legacy to this Celtic celebration (3, 5).

  • The Hungry Ghost Festival: As a holiday that pays tribute to ancestors, this month-long tradition is celebrated across China, Singapore and Malaysia, and beyond. As a part of a larger celebration, this celebration involves feeding the spirits that roam the world (5).

  • Pitru Paksha: Meaning “fortnight of the ancestors,” this Indian holiday is when souls are briefly allowed to return to Earth and be with their families. To solidfy a family’s place in the afterlife, the ritual of Shraddha is performed during this period (5).

  • Kawasaki Halloween Parade: Also at the end of October each year, this Japanese parade—the biggest of its kind—includes thousands of costumed people who gather in Kawasaki, Japan (5).

Learning surprising facts and figures about Halloween is fun for you and for your families. You can learn surprising facts about CRäKN, too, here on our website.

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Sources used in this blog:

  1. https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/social-media-influencing-near-record-halloween-spending
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/apologies-freud/201010/is-halloween-the-new-new-years
  3. Morton, Lisa. Trick or Treat: a History of Halloween. Reaktion Books, 2013.
  4. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween
  5. http://mentalfloss.com/article/604894/12-halloween-traditions-around-world

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