40 questions and answers mostly pertaining to the origin and traditions of Halloween
Q1: In what European country did Halloween originate?
A: Ireland. It is linked to the Catholic holiday All Saints (Hallows) Day and ancient Celtic festival Samhain. It was believed to have been celebrated as early as 4000 B.C.
Q2: How does Halloween rank among other American holidays in terms of commercial success?
A: It is the second most commercially successful holiday behind Christmas, with $2.5 billion spent on average in 2019.
Q3: What was the nickname of the man from which the term “jack o’lantern” originated?
A: Stingy Jack, which comes from an old Irish folktale based on a cheap man named “Stingy Jack” who made deals with the devil.
Q4: What one serial killer in particular inspired movies Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and Silence of the Lambs?
A: Ed Gein
Q5: On what date is Halloween celebrated?
A: October 31st
Q6: In the movie Halloween, Michael Myers wears a mask that is spray painted white, but what famous actor’s face was the mask meant to look like?
A: William Shatner. Because the studio had such a small budget, they had to use the cheapest mask they could find. It was a $2 William Shatner mask that they spray painted white.
Q7: What American city is said to be number one for trick or treating?
A: San Francisco
Q8: Around Halloween, nighttime talk show host Jimmy Kimmel asks parents to send him videos telling their children they did what?
A: Ate all of their children’s Halloween candy
Q9: On average, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Q10: Ironically, what is usually the second main ingredient used in candy corn?
A: Corn syrup
Q11: What was the original title for Disney’s Hocus Pocus movie?
A: Halloween House. Hocus Pocus was initially called Halloween House—and it was more horror than comedy.
Q12: In 1951, what comic strip helped to popularize trick or treating in the United States?
A: Peanuts by Charles Schultz.
Q13: The fear of Halloween is known as what?
Q14: The former White House resident who is said to haunt its rose garden lived in the house during which presidency?
A: The 4th presidency or James Madison’s presidency are both acceptable answers. First Lady Dolley Madison is said to haunt the White House Rose Garden.
Q15: What vegetable is disliked by vampires and is used to keep them away?
Q16: What is Hong Kong’s Festival of Hungry Ghosts called?
A: Yue Lan
Q17: What percentage of American children under the age of 12 go trick or treating each year, on average?
Q18: What ancient Roman goddess is said to be honored on Halloween?
A: Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees—many believe bobbing for apples on Halloween stemmed from Roman traditions to honor Pomona.
Q19: Out of what vegetables were Jack O’lanterns originally made?
Q20: The 1993 film that voices Catherine O’Hara as Sally was directed by whom?
A: Henry Selick. The Nightmare Before Christmas was directed by Henry Selick and had Catherine O’Hara voice fictional character Sally.
Q21: When was Halloween first celebrated in the United States?
A: Around the 1840s when there was a flood of Irish immigrants fleeing from the potato famine
Q22: How many calories can be found in an American trick-or-treater’s Halloween stash of candy on average?
A: About 11,000
Q23: In Halloween superstition, women would put the apples they bobbed for under their pillows in order to dream of what?
A: A future love interest
Q24: Who is the author of the novel Frankenstein?
A: Mary Shelley
Q25: In the film Beetlejuice, several songs performed by this American-Jamaican singer are played.
A: Harry Belafonte
Q26: On Halloween, Charlie Brown helps his friend Linus search for what fictional character?
A: The Great Pumpkin
Q27: In what American state is it illegal to be a priest or nun for Halloween?
A: Alabama. Those who wear clergy costumes in Alabama can be charged with a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, a fine of $500 or imprisonment for up to one year.
Q28: Pumpkins are what kind of plant?
Q29: One particular serial killer inspired Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho and Silence of the Lambs. Who was it?
A: Ed Gein
Q30: What does the name Dracula translate to mean?
A: Son of the Devil
Q31: In what was cousin It from the Addams Family covered?
Q32: In New England, what is the night before Halloween called?
A: Cabbage night or Mischief Night. People often leave heads of rotten cabbage near their neighbors’ doors as a prank.
Q33: In what country can real mummies be found?
Q34: What real, mammal creatures does folklore say vampires can turn into?
Q35: For how many continuous hours would you have to walk to burn off the average calories that are consumed by a child in the United States on Halloween night?
A: 44 hours of non-stop walking would be necessary to burn off the 7,000 calories consumed by an average American child on Halloween night.
Q36: Why did ancient Celts dress up on Halloween?
A: They believed that ghosts would roam the earth on Halloween and a costume would help to keep them from being recognized as human.
Q37: The 1980 movie starring Angelica Houston as the Grand High Witch was based on a book by what famous Welsh novelist?
A: Roald Dahl
Q38: Hay-man, Mommet, Mawkin, Gallybagger, and Murmet are nicknames for what harvest time prop?
Q39: Bram Stoker’s original name for Dracula was Count Wampyr, which translates to vampire in what language?
Q40: This year’s Halloween will be the first in many to have a full moon. When was the last time there was a full moon on Halloween?