Do you know the history of Halloween?


By: Jaclyn Lavine

4 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Test your Halloween knowledge!

What ancient festival did Halloween originate from?

Samhain is a festival of the Dead. Meaning "Summer's End." It is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest half of the year


What was celebrated during Samhain?

Although it doesn't seem like darkness, death, and cold are worth celebrating, the Celts certainy thought they were.


How would the Druids celebrate?

The bonfires represented the end of the harvest where dressing up and telling each other's fortunes represented the blurred lines of life and death.


In what century did Pope Gregory III designate November 1st as a time to honor all saints and martyrs?

During the 8th century, Pope Gregory III (731-741) dedicated an oratory in the original St. Peter's Basilica in honor of all the saints on Nov. 1 (at least according to some accounts), and this date then became the official date for the celebration of the Feast of All Saints in Rome.


What was the evening before All Saints Day called?

All Hallows’ Eve was the night before All Saints' Day, October 31st, and would later become what we know as Halloween.


After the Romans conquered the Celtic lands, what two festivals did the Romans combine with Samhain?

The first Roman festival was Feralia, a late October da in which the Romans commemorated the passing of the day. The second festival was in honor of Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruit and trees.


Why did the church make November 2nd All Souls' Day in 1000 AD?

The church wanted to spread Christiniaitny. They knew they would fail if ​took away every "fun" holiday that the Celts used to celebrate, so rather tan getting rid of Samhain, they combined some of the holiday's traditions with a Christina holiday.


What other names did All Saints' Day go by?

The Middle English word, Alholowmesse means All Saints' day. The night before Halloween ​was and still is, called All -Hallows Eve!


Why was Halloween not celebrated in colonial New England?

Halloween was more popular in the Southern colonies.


What were some traditions of colonial Halloween celebrations?

The different beliefs and customs of various European groups ​combined with the traditions of the Native Americans. These new traditions and customs began to create a distinctly American Halloween.


When did Halloween become a national American holiday?

In the second half of the 19th century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants helped to make Halloween a popular celebration nationwide. ​


When did people begin trick-or-treating?

Around the same time that new American immigrants were popularizing Halloween, Americans began to dress up in costumes​ and go door-to-door asking food or money.


Which superstition was practiced by young colonial women during Halloween?

It probably never worked, but this tradition w​as practiced for many centuries after the colonial period.


When did the religious and superstitious undertones of Halloween dissipate?

The focus moved away from ghosts and onto games, food, and celebrating the season.


When did Halloween become secularized in America?

Towns would hold parades and host public parties.


When was the practice of trick-or-treating revived?

The Baby Boom of 1950's made town-wide parties far too large. Halloween activities were happening more and more at home and in the classroom. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive and convenient​ way to celebrate Halloween.


Which one is a Halloween superstition?

Depending on the person, their culture, ​and/or religion, many old superstitions are still practiced today.


When did the black cat superstition originate?

In the Middle Ages, people believed that witches could turn themselves into cats.


When was the first recorded Ghost sighting?

Pliny wrote about the spirit of an old man with a long beard, rattling chains, th​at was haunting his house in Athens.


What about the first poltergeist (a ghost that moves objects, makes loud noises, etc.)

A poltergeist was reported at a farmhouse in Germany. The family living there​ claimed to be tormented by a poltergeist that liked to throw stones and start fires. Creeeeepy!


Which historical figure is one of the most famous ghosts of England?

Anne Boleyn​ was executed at the Tower of London in Mary of 1536. Sightings of her ghost have been reported for centuries at the Tower and her childhood home, Hever Castle.


Which historical figure is one of the most famous American ghosts?

Starting in the late 19th century, Franklin's ghost was reported near the Amerian Philosophical Society in Philadelphia​.


Which American landmark is apparently haunted?

There are many other historical American landmarks that are supposedly haunted!


What fruit or vegetable was the first Jack O'lantern made out of?

The first Jack O'lanterns were made out of turnips in Ireland during the 19th century.


How did the Jack O'lantern get it's name?

Jack was stingy, so he didn't want to have to pay for the Devil's drink, so he combined the Devil to turn himself into a coin. Jack decided to keep the coin instead, and placed it in his pocket next to a silver cross which prevented the Devil from turning back to his original form. Jack freed the Devil under the condition that he would not bother him for a year. The next year Jack tricked him again, this time into turning into a piece of fruit. The story continues every year or 10 years depending on the deal Jack makes with the Devil.


What does Samhainophobia mean?

Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.


What do the English celebrate instead of Halloween?

On November 5th, the English commemorate the capture and execution of Guy Fawkes, who conspired to blow up Parliament in 1605 to​ restore a Catholic king to the throne.


Which famous magician died on Halloween in 1926?

The famous magician died on Halloween night as a result of appendicitis.


How many years has Halloween been around?

Halloween may​ have originated around 4,000 BC which means it is around 6016 years old


What does Mexico celebrate instead of Halloween?

Dia de lose Muertos is a multi-day holiday in which families gather to pray and remember loved ones who have died. The purpose of this holiday is to guide​ the spirits of loved ones on their spiritual journey


What do the Chinese celebrate instead of Halloween?

The​ Chinese place food and water in front of photographs of deceased family members. They light lanterns have bonfires to light the paths of the spirits.


Which 2 historical cities could be considered the American capital of Halloween?

New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in America and has a long history of voodoo magic, making it one of the best spots to celebrate Halloween. Salem, MA is the site of the Salem Witch Trials. October is one of Salem's busiest​ times of year!


Rank the most haunted American cities from most haunted to least haunted.

1. New Orleans, Louisiana: One of the most haunted places in the world. %0D2. Baltimore. Maryland: This city served as inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe. %0D3. Savannah, Georgia: Filled with history and haunted homes. %0D4. Charleston, South Carolina: The oldest city in the US!%0D5. San Antonio, Texas: Home of the Alamo. %0D6. Salem, Massachusetts: Home of the famous witch trials. %0D7. Charlotte, North Carolina: At years 250 years worth of ghosts.%0D8. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Home of one of the bloodiest battles during the Civil War. %0D9. Deadwood, South Dakota: Once a wild and dangerous western town.%0D10, Galveston, Texas: The Great Storm of 1900 and the Civil War are responsible​ for the hauntings here.


Which candy is the most popular candy for Halloween?

Chocolate is by far the most popular type of candy amongst trick-or-treaters. However, if you look into a child's candy bag in the middle of February, all the reeses would be gone or secreted away for a really tough day. ​


In what country is Halloween the most popular?

Many other countries such as England and France don't understand the hype around Halloween. Instead, they view it as a commercialized and Americanized holiday not worthy of celebrating.


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