Happy Haunting: Halloween Traditions are filled with tricks and treats

Girl in Halloween CostumeGet ready to welcome ghosts and ghouls. Prepare to indulge in the gory and the grotesque, and the walking pumpkins. Halloween is upon us again.

This bewitching holiday marked on October 31 dates back more than 2,000 years, to Celtic celebrations of the harvest and the coming of winter. It was known as “All Hallows’ Eve,” since it fell on the eve of the Christian observance of All Saint’s Day, November 1.

Halloween is steeped in traditions and customs, and the boundaries blur between the worlds of the living and the dead. This focus on the mystical and macabre has spawned the holiday’s association with scary characters such as ghosts, witches, warlocks, vampires and zombies.

Whether it’s trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o’-lanterns, or watching horror movies, everyone seems to have a favorite Halloween activity. Although the monster theme is a mainstay of Halloween dress-up, there’s no lack of superheroes and princesses on the trick-or-treat trail.

Before you dress up the kids (or yourself), however, take our Halloween quiz … if you dare!

  1. Halloween has been popular in communities across the country for generations. In which state was the first citywide Halloween celebration?
    a) New York, b) California, c) Minnesota or d) Maine
  1. Long before the infamous “Halloween” movie series, there have been spooky stories to make us quake with fear. Perhaps the most iconic terror tale is “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Who wrote this 19th Century classic?
    a) Edgar Allen Poe, b) Nathanial Hawthorne, c) Arthur Conan Doyle or d) Washington Irving
  1. A ghost’s job is to haunt folks, but what about ghouls? What are ghouls supposed to do best?
    a) stir cauldrons, b) rob graves, c) cast spells or d) summon spirits
  1. Children love receiving candy on Halloween – and during the rest of the year, too! According to the National Confectioners Association, which kind of candy tops the list for money spent on Halloween treats?
    a) candy corn, b) chocolate, c) gummy candy or d) jelly beans
  1. Which of these four celebrities does not have a Halloween birthday?
    a) actor Tom Cruise, b) journalist Dan Rather, c) rapper Vanilla Ice or d) comedian Rob Schneider

 

Answers:

  1. c. The first civic celebration of Halloween was in 1921 in Anoka, Minnesota.
  1. d. We can thank author Washington Irving for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and its infamous ghost, the Headless Horseman.
  1. b. Legend has it that the chief pursuit of a ghoul is to rob graves.
  1. b. Chocolate is the preferred treat. A whopping 72 percent of respondents to a 2013 survey by the association said chocolate was their top choice when selecting Halloween candy.
  1. Actor Tom Cruise was born in July. The other celebrities were all born on October 31.
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