Halloween 2013 is right around the corner. To get into the spirit of the spook-tacular holiday, here is a bit of Halloween history and some fun facts for the young and young at heart. Plus, be sure to check out trick-or-treating and Halloween parties at Atlanta area malls for a safe alternative.
The history of Halloween
- Halloween, referred to as All Hallows Eve, was originally a pagan holiday for which the dead were honored. It was celebrated on October 31st since this was the last day of the Celtic calendar. The celebration dates back some 2,000 years.
- The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts wandered the streets on All Hallows Eve so they began wearing masks and costumes in order to not be recognized as human.
- The jack-o-lantern tradition comes from an old Irish folk tale about a man named Stingy Jack. It was said that he was unable to get into heaven and was turned away from the devil because of his tricky ways. So he set off to wander the world looking for a resting place. For light, Stingy Jack used a burning coal ember in a hollowed out turnip. When the Irish immigrated to the U.S. during the Great Potato Famine of 1845-1850, they found that turnips were not as readily available like they were in the homeland. So they started carving pumpkins as a replacement for their tradition.
- On Halloween, Irish peasants would beg the rich for food. For those that refused, they would play a practical joke. So, in an effort to avoid being tricked, the rich would hand out cookies, candy, and fruit – a practice that morphed into trick-or-treating today.
Halloween fun facts
- Halloween candy sales average about $2 billion annually in the United States.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups rank as the most popular Halloween candy, followed by Life Savers, Baby Ruth, Tootsie Rolls and Milky Way. M&Ms and Hershey bars are also very popular.
- Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.
- Pumpkins also come in white, blue and green.
- The Count Dracula Society was founded in 1962.
- To this day, there are vampire clubs and societies filled with members who claim to be real vampires.
- Medieval stone carvers crafted gargoyles to ward off evil spirits.
- The movie “Halloween” was made in only 21 days in 1978 on a very limited budget. It was shot in the spring and used fake autumn leaves.
- Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
- The setting of the “Halloween” movie is in Illinois, but the vehicles have California license plates.
Trick-or-treating and Halloween events at Atlanta area malls for in 2013
If you prefer the security of trick-or-treating at Atlanta malls rather than prowling the neighborhood, the following malls in North Atlanta are offering organized events before Halloween and on Halloween night.
- Mall of Georgia opens its doors to trick-or-treaters on Halloween at 6 p.m. until the candy runs out. Participating stores will hand out treats to costume-clad guests 12 years of age and younger. Halloween photos will be available for purchase in Nordstrom Court. 3333 Buford Dr., Buford; 678-482-8788.
- Northlake Mall will celebrate its Simon Kidgits Club Ghostly Halloween Party on Oct. 31 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Food Court with a balloon artist, bounce house and more. Attendees who join or renew their Kidgits Club membership at the event will receive a special gift, while supplies last. There will also be mall-wide trick-or-treating at participating stores. Guests can even purchase Halloween photos to remember the fun. 4800 Briarcliff Rd. NE; Atlanta, GA 30345. (770) 938-3565.
- Halloween Dress Rehearsal at the Disney Store at Permieter Mall. Come dressed in your favorite Disney costume, and enjoy crafts, treats and a Costume Parade. All princesses, heroes, and characters are welcome! Friday, Oct. 18 from 5-6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 19 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. NE; Atlanta, GA 30346.
- Halloween Kid Fest at North Point Mall. This seasonal celebration includes family-friendly activities like make-and-take crafts, costume contest and a dance party with a DJ. Kids 2-12 are welcome. Saturday, Oct. 26 at 2-6 p.m. 4800 Briarcliff Rd. NE; Atlanta, GA 30345. (770) 938-3565.
For a complete list of family-friendly events in and around Atlanta, head to the Yeah Let’s Go website.
To receive future articles by Jackie Kass, scroll to the top of this article and click on SUBSCRIBE. Do you have a story idea? Email your ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.