Fun Facts For Halloween

Fun Facts for Halloween

trick or treat

Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.  In Great Britain, Jack-O-Lanterns were traditionally made from turnips. The Halloween custom came to American through Irish immigrants, and since turnips weren’t cheap, Americans used pumpkins. Today, pumpkins are used worldwide, to the disappointment of turnip farmers everywhere.

99% of all pumpkins sold are used for jack-o-lanterns at Halloween.

A Swiss gardener grew the world’s heaviest pumpkin.  Beni Meier, 30, grew the pumpkin that weighed in at 2,096 pounds.

biggest pumpkin

New Orleans holds the current world record for largest Halloween Party with 17,777 costumed revelers at once.

The Village Halloween parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants and draws over 2 million spectators.

In many countries, such as France and Australia, Halloween is seen as an unwanted and overly commercial American influence.

There’s a $1,000 fine for using or selling Silly String in Hollywood on Halloween.  The prank product has been banned in Hollywood since 2004 after thousands of bored people would buy it on the streets of Hollywood from illegal vendors and “vandalize” the streets. There is a maximum $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail for “use, possession, sale or distribution of Silly String in Hollywood from 12:01 AM on October 31 to 12:00 PM on November 1.”

 silly string

A 1951 Peanuts comic strip can be credited with the popular spread of trick or treating as we know it nationwide.

Candy corn has been made with the same recipe by the Jelly Belly Candy Company since around 1900.  What’s in that recipe, exactly? Sugar, corn syrup, and marshmallow.  One serving (about 30 pieces) has 140 calories.  October 30th is National Candy Corn Day.

Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1. Chocolate makes up about three-quarters of a trick-or-treaters loot, according to the National Confectioners Association.  Which is good because fifty percent of kids prefer to receive chocolate candy for Halloween, compared with 24% who prefer non-chocolate candy and 10% who preferred gum.

In 2010, 72.2% of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation will hand out candy, 46.3% will carve a pumpkin, 20.8% will visit a haunted house, and 11.5% will dress up their pets.  86% of Americans decorate their homes in celebration of Halloween.

Halloween is a $6 billion industry, making Halloween the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.

Halloween Fun Fact: In Alabama, it is illegal to dress-up as a priest.

PriestA

Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

Here are some ideas for Halloween costumes…

Roman Gladiator

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Soldier

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Caveman

costume-2

Navy Officer

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Male Stripper

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Construction Worker

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Uh….Ok then…

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Alright….October is almost over….make that appointment…

Get those Mammies Grammed…NOW…

Stuart

The hunkalicious Stuart Reardon wearing pink for the cause.

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A Brief History of St. Patrick’s Day Stuff

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Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (IrishLá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”) is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated annually on 17 March.  St. Patrick is the most commonly-recognized patron saint of Ireland.  He lived (approximately) from. AD 385–461.

Much of what is known about St Patrick comes from the Declaration, which was allegedly written by Patrick himself. He was born in Roman Britain (though occasionally reportedly in Scotland) near the end of the fourth century to a wealthy Roman-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the early Christian church. According to the Declaration, at the age of sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. He spent six years there working as a shepherd and during this time he “found God”. The Declaration says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After returning home Patrick went on to become a priest.

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According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration says that he spent 30 years preaching in the northern Ireland and converted thousands to Christianity while establishing monasteries, churches, and schools.  Tradition holds that he died on March 17 and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland’s foremost saint.

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church. The day officially commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  It has evolved to also celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.

shamrock

 

 

 

 

 

St.  Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. This story first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older.

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Love me some shamrocks…

 

In America, St. Patrick’s Day was first publicly celebrated in Boston in 1737 where a large population of Irish immigrants resided. Nearly 200 years later, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931. During the mid 1990’s, the Irish government also began a campaign to promote tourism in Ireland on March 17th.  While many Catholics still quietly celebrate this day of religious observance by going to mass, St. Patrick’s Day slowly evolved to become a celebration of Irish heritage.

Fun Facts

Lenten restrictions on drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.

green beer

 

 

 

Because nothing says I’m Irish like drinking green beer even though I gave it up for Lent…

 

 

There are more Irish people living in the U.S. than in Ireland.  The population of Ireland is roughly 4.2 million, but there are an estimated 34 million Americans with Irish ancestry.

 The official color of St. Patrick is actually blue.  Several artworks of St. Patrick show him wearing blue vestments. Blue was also commonly used on flags and coats-of-arms to represent Ireland.  Green came into the picture much later, probably as a symbol of the greenness of the “Emerald Isle.”

Leprechauns were first mentioned in the 8th century.  Belief in leprechauns, a term that comes from the Irish word meaning “small-bodied fellow,” probably originated in the Celtic belief in fairies.  Celtic folktales tell stories of tiny men and women with magical powers who were known for their trickery.

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He looks like a Leprechaun to me…

 

 

 St. Patrick didn’t rid Ireland of snakes.  One legend often associated with St. Patrick is that he drove the snakes out of Ireland during one of his sermons, driving the serpents into the sea.  But snakes are not actually found in post-glacial Ireland because of the country’s geographical position.

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Oops.  Maybe this is the Leprechaun…

 

 

The real St. Patrick wasn’t Irish (gasp!)  Contrary to everything your intuition has taught you, St. Patrick was actually English. He was born in Britain around 385 A.D.

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This is NOT a Leprechaun…

 

 

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  Leave a comment, follow my blog, friend me on Facebook…