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By Teresa Bigham /The Hesperian-Beacon—
Did you know, according to the holiday spot? Is this a website? Is it a proper name?
• Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back more than 2000 years to the time of the Celts who lived in Britain.
• More than 93 percent of children go trick-or-treating each year.
• Black cats get a bad rap on Halloween because they were once believed to be shielded their master’s dark powers.
• Mexico celebrates ‘The Day of the Dead’ instead of Halloween.
• Halloween is correctly spelled Hallowe’en.
• If you see a spider on this night, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is observing you.
• Halloween also is recognized as the third biggest party day after New Year’s and Super Bowl Sunday.
• Trick-or-treating changed from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
• Trick or treating comes from the Middle-Age custom of the poor dressing up in costumes and going around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food in trade for prayers. The food given was often a Soul Cake, which was a round cake which embodied a soul being freed from Purgatory when the cake was eaten.
• People love carving pumpkins at Halloween, but few know the jack-o-lantern’s dark history. According to Celtic lore, a miserly old man used to play tricks on the devil and was thus denied entrance to both heaven and hell. Instead, the old man was condemned to wander the Earth and used his lantern to lead people astray from their paths.
• Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first. People spend as much as $2.5 billion during Halloween on candies, costumes, decorations and parties.
• The owl is a common Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were assumed to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.
• Pumpkins originated in Central America. When Europeans arrived in the New World, they found pumpkins plentiful and used in cooking by Native Americans. They took seeds back to Europe where they quickly became popular.
• Halloween candy sales average about $2 billion annually in the United States.