Fun Facts about Halloween:
Provided by the National Confectioners Association
The celebration of Halloween started in the United States as an autumn harvest festival. In pioneer days, some Americans celebrated Halloween with com-popping parties, taffy pulls and hayrides.
In the late nineteenth century, with the large influx of Irish immigrants into the U.S., Halloween became associated with ghosts, goblins and witches.
Jack-o-lanterns are an Irish tradition. In Ireland, oversized rutabagas, turnips and potatoes were hollowed-out, carved into faces and illuminated with candles to be used as lanterns during Halloween celebrations.
The word "witch" comes from the Old Saxon word "wica", meaning "wise one." The earliest witches were respected dealers in charms and medicinal herbs and tellers of fortunes.
The pumpkin originated in Mexico about 9,000 years ago. It is one of America's oldest known vegetables. Pumpkins generally weigh from 15-to-30 pounds, although some weigh as much as 200 pounds. The majority of pumpkins are orange, but they also can be white or yellow. They are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene and potassium, and their seeds provide protein and iron.
According to legend, the jack-o'-lantern began with a fellow named Jack, who was too stingy to be allowed into Heaven and too mischievous to join the Devil in hell. As consolation, the Devil threw Jack a lighted coal, which Jack placed inside a turnip he was eating. It is said that Jack continues to use the coal to light his path as he searches for a final resting place.