Halloween is one holiday that is beloved by people from all over the world.
Even people who come from countries that have no cultural common ground look forward to the mere idea of it. Unfortunately for a lot of people around the globe, their environment doesn’t allow them to truly enjoy the magical and spooky time of Halloween. In the United States, Halloween is a multi-billion dollar holiday with its own niche industries selling their products like hot pancakes. From a cultural festival, it has transformed over the last few decades into a financial and entertainment giant. But the sinister edges of the holiday still remain. Many might not know these parts about Halloween but they are very much true. Here are some of the more obscure facts about Halloween.
1) Macabre Decorations
During the festive holiday, people all over the country spruce up their homes with sinister looking decorations and create the spookiest ambience they can. However some people have a tendency to take things too far. There have been several stories across different Halloweens when things turned out to be quite sinister instead of fun. During one such day, a mailman found what looked like a very realistic looking dead body on somebody’s front porch. Thinking that it was an ingenious decoration, he moved on to other houses on his route. It was later found out that it was an actual dead body on the porch and not a fake one. Several other stories have also come out during the last few Halloweens. Due to the nature of the holiday, people’s first reaction to seeing something horrible is very different from what would happen during a normal day. From people hanging from trees to decomposing bodies in apartments, many people viewed them as mere decorations without realizing that the world doesn’t stop for a holiday.
2) Origins of Halloween Costumes
Today most people believe that Halloween is just a fun time where you can dress up as whoever you want and go out to have fun with friends and family. But the origin of this tradition was far more dark and spooky. During the day of Samhain which was the original form of Halloween, people in the villages would wear costumes of evil spirits to blend in. They believed that on that day, demons and ghouls cross over to our world to wreak havoc throughout the land. The concept of becoming a monster came into being so that they could perhaps trick the evil beings into thinking that they are one of them. The supernatural theme of this holiday also led many people to exploit the superstitions of people and abuse their shortcomings in cruel ways. Thankfully in today’s age information and awareness has reached a certain level in the civilized world and people are overall less gullible about ancient tales.
3) The Legend of Poisoned Candy
Ever since the 1970’s there has been a sinister urban legend surrounding trick-or-treating, one of the most popular aspects of Halloween. Children all over the world are taught not to talk to strangers but on Halloween, they are allowed to actually go out and not only talk to strangers but collect candy from them too. In 1974, there were a few real life incidents where poisoned candy was distributed to children. In one particular case, an 8 year old boy was killed after eating candy laced with cyanide. Further investigations found out that the boy’s father was the culprit and that he did it to claim life insurance money. Over the years that followed, small incidents regarding not only poisoned candy but also dangerous objects such as razor blades and needles hidden in candy started popping up. Tough most of it can be credited to being mere urban legends, real instances have also occurred over the last few decades.
4) The Power that Comes With a Billion Dollar Industry
Halloween is a billion dollar industry today with several companies profiting from the mass purchase of decorations, costumes and candy. Out of all of them the candy industry makes over $2 billion each Halloween. In 2007 a change was made to the daylight savings time where it now ends in the first week of November as opposed to the last week of October. This change was made by the congress on the pretense of conserving energy by passing the Energy Policy Act. However, it’s very strange to note that this change doesn’t change energy consumption in any significant ways. Further investigation into this revealed that the Candy lobby played a large part in this. By essentially making Halloween longer, they were able to sell more candy and make an extra small fortune. It’s almost scary to see the power and influence big lobbies have in government.
5) Halloween and Phobias
Though this may not be as impactful as the other points, it is a very interesting one which very few people seldom think or talk about. There are millions of people with phobias all around the world. A phobia is defined as a type of anxiety disorder that can be divided into three categories such as specific, social and agoraphobia. Specific phobia deals with an unnatural fear of something that poses no actual danger. While you may know about the more common ones like arachnophobia, a lot of people are not aware of the more obscure ones. Wiccaphobia (fear of witches), Phasmophobia (fear of ghosts) and Coimetrophobia (fear of cemeteries) are all valid conditions and Halloween is difficult for those who suffer from these phobias. Others that pop up during this time are Hemophobia (fear of blood), Maskaphobia (fear of masks), Skelephobia (fear of skeletons) and Teraphobia (fear of monsters). Not many people suffer from these but it is interesting to note that a single festival can elevate so many different types of phobias. Though this may be a tad bit harsh to say so but all the phobias that crop up during this time only adds to the spookiness factor of Halloween.