Hello, and welcome to this special edition of our Beginners Guide's.
The chill of winter is upon us, and as those cold, misty nights draw in, so too does the fear of the dark.
Each year we celebrate Halloween, the time when the veil between that which is living and that which is dead is at it's thinnest.
All year we try our best to keep our children safe from the fears and scary reality of life. But on this one night we actively encourage scaring the bajeezus out of them.
Why? Where did this festival originate? How will it evolve? All this and more will probably be answered, as we tell you ten things you need to know about Halloween...
1. Halloween was invented by a confectionery company in the USA in 1908. Sales of sweets and candy treats would always dip around October and November, in readiness for the Christmas rush. To prevent this lull in sales Brad Pittsburgh, head of marketing at Boyle's Sweets and Candies, Utah, came up with the concept of Halloween. Getting children to dress up and call door to door for sweets.
2. Halloween means 'scary night of midgets' in Old Hebrew.
3. The film 'Halloween' by John Carpenter, was actually filmed in early June. Also, the film remake of 'Halloween' by Rob Zombie was actually filmed in December, but interestingly, the 1938 MGM adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol' was completed on Halloween.
4. Halloween is the UK's fourth most popular festival, after Christmas, Easter and Glastonbury.
5. Legend has it that at midnight on the crossover from the 31st October to 1st November, the line between the living and the dead is at it's narrowest, and ghosts and ghoulies can cross from one side to the other. This is of course horse shit. Ghosts don't exist any more than Elvis works down our chip shop.
6. Over 16 billion tonnes of candy treats are consumed over the two days following Halloween, across the world. This equates to around 14 billion tonnes of vomit, and an average of 32 million rotten teeth. Not only is the candy industry boosted by Halloween, but so too is the dental, sanitation and healthcare industries, providing jobs and security for those that work in it.
7. Heart attacks rise by a staggering 68% on Halloween. This is mainly down to the old and infirm being called upon, and literally scared to death. Ambulance call outs also rise by around 54%. The deficit is put down to many old people not being discovered until some days later.
8. The term 'trick or treat' was first coined by some children in Chicago around 1912. Calling upon a retired city banker, one of the masked children uttered this phrase, only to be ushered away by the unreceptive and somewhat unimpressed 'victim'. They burnt down his house, killing him and his family.
9. Halloween is still at it's most popular in the USA, but UK is catching up fast. Other countries that celebrate Halloween are France, Belgium and Venezuela. Interestingly, Halloween is banned in Nova Scotia and Balabanovo, Russia. Trick or treating in either of these places result in lengthy prison terms, and even immediate execution.
10. Fact-flood!! Halloween happens only once a year! Leap years have no impact on Halloween! Egging a house (throwing somewhat 'ripe' chicken eggs at a domicile, after being refused a 'treat') began life with dog-mess (or dog-eggs), but the egg took over in the late '80's, due to it's easier transportability, and less pungent stench! Shooting children for trick-or-treating is considered illegal in most countries! The carved pumpkin began life as a carrot, but a real 'face of fear' could not be truly conveyed on something so small. So keeping to the orange theme, a pumpkin was used for the first time in 1926. It has remained a staple of peoples decorative Halloween set-pieces ever since!
Join us on November the 5th, for 'The Beginner's Guide Special Edition: Ten Things To Know About Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night!'