Halloween & Fall Trivia

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?

A: 252

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?

A: Samhainophobia

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?

A: Garlic

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?

A: 93%

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?

A: Turnips

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?

A: Fruits

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?

A: Hair

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?

A: Egypt

Q34: What real, mammal creatures does folklore say vampires can turn into?

A: Bats

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?

A: Scarecrow

Q39: Bram Stoker’s original name for Dracula was Count Wampyr, which translates to vampire in what language?

A: German

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?

A: 2001