For example, you may be surprised to learn that the origin of Halloween is still up for debate — thousands of years after it supposedly started at a Celtic festival called “Samhain.”
If you’re a Halloween enthusiast, this is exactly the kind of Halloween trivia you’re dying to know.
There are all sorts of juicy tidbits out there. For starters, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is guaranteed to be on your Halloween playlist, but did you know that the original version of the song had a different title and lyrics altogether? Or how about that "Hocus Pocus" was filmed nowhere near Hollywood? Spoiler alert: The movie location has witchy roots.
If you’re looking for something to do this Halloween, plan a trivia night with all your pals. And since you want to win (or at least up your chances of winning), arm yourself with all these fun facts ahead of time.
So, let's get down to business.
Question: When did Halloween start?
Answer: Though opinion varies, Halloween is thought to have started around 600 AD with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which commemorates the end of summer and beginning of winter. However, some experts believe it began with the Catholic feast, All Saints Day.
Question: How much money were consumers expected to spend on Halloween decorations in 2021?
Answer: $3.2 billion, per the National Retail Foundation.
Question: Which actress said that “Hocus Pocus” was one of her favorite movie roles of all time?
Answer: Bette Midler
Question: Which U.S. state produces the most pumpkins?
Answer: Illinois, per the U.S. Department of Acgriculture.
Question: What percentage of people planned to celebrate Halloween in 2021?
Answer: 65%, according to the NRF.
Question: Why are the Halloween colors orange and black?
Answer: While there are competing theories, it’s generally thought that orange is for pumpkins and harvest, and black represents night, death or darkness.
Question: How much money were consumers expected to spend on Halloween costumes in 2021?
Answer: $3.3 billion, according to the NRF.
Question: Where was “Hocus Pocus” filmed?
Answer: Though there were multiple shooting locations, the most famous "Hocus Pocus" scenes were filmed on location in Salem, Massachusetts.
Question: Where does the mask that Michael Myers wears in “Halloween" come from?
Answer: It’s a modified Captain Kirk mask from the TV series “Star Trek.”
Question: Where did the word “Halloween” come from?
Answer: Halloween went by All Hallows’ Eve” until 1773, then the Scots began referring to it as Hallow-e’en. The first known person to put the words together was Scottish poet, Robert Burns, who penned the poem “Halloween” in 1786.
Question: What was the original title of the movie “Halloween"?
Answer: “The Babysitter Murders"
Question: How many pounds of fresh pumpkins did the U.S. produce in 2021?
Answer: Nearly 1.2 million pounds, according to the USDA.
Question: Who wrote the “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”?
Answer: Washington Irving
Question: When was "Monster Mash" released?
Question: What is the most popular Halloween costume for pets?
Answer: Pumpkin, according to the NRF.
Question: Where does “Double, double toil and trouble” come from?
Answer: William Shakespeare's “Macbeth”
Question: What's the most popular Halloween costume in the U.S., according to Google?
Answer: A witch
Question: On average, how much money do Americans spend annually on Halloween?
Answer: Approximately $10 million, per the NRF.
Question: When was the first known guide to celebrating Halloween published?
Answer: "Halloween: How to Celebrate It" was published in 1897.
Question: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, how many potential trick-or-treaters are there?
Answer: Approximately 41 million kids between the ages of 5 and 14 or 73.1 million children under the age of 18
Question: Where is Transylvania, otherwise known as Count Dracula's home, located?
Answer: In Romania. However, there's also a county in North Carolina named "Transylvania."
Question: What’s the most popular adult Halloween candy?
Answer: M&M’s, according to YouGov's 2021 survey.
Question: What’s the most popular kids' Halloween candy?
Answer: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, according to YouGov's 2021 survey.
Question: Approximately how much money did Americans spend on candy in 2021?
Answer: $3 billion, per the NRF.
Question: On average, what percentage of Americans carve a pumpkin for Halloween?
Answer: 45%, according to the NRF.
Question: How many minutes does Michael Keaton actually appear on screen in Beetlejuice"?
Answer: Roughly 17 minutes.
Question: What was the original working title of the movie “Beetlejuice"?
Answer: “House Ghosts"
Question: Which two fears from his own childhood did Steven Spielberg incorporate into the 1982 movie, “Poltergeist"?
Answer: A clown doll and the tree with long branches outside the window of his New Jersey home that moved whenever there was a wind storm.
Question: Which famous actress auditioned for a role in “Poltergeist” but ended up in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” instead?
Answer: Drew Barrymore
Question: How much candy does the average American consume each year?
Question: What 1980s band did “The Nightmare Before Christmas” musician and composer Danny Elfman perform in?
Answer: Oingo Boingo
Question: How long did it take to make “A Nightmare Before Christmas"?
Answer: Three years
Question: What was the original name of the Michael Jackson song “Thriller”?
Question: Which film inspired Michael Jackson to collaborate with director John Landis on the “Thriller” video?
Answer: “An American Werewolf in London”
Question: What is the fear of Halloween called?
Question: What did Americans use for Halloween decorations in the early 1900s?
Answer: Crepe paper, cardboard cutouts, corn stalks, pumpkins, gourds and hay
Question: What's the top grossing horror movie of all time?
Answer: According to Box Office Mojo, the 2017 Stephen King horror movie "It" has earned $701,842,551 worldwide.
Question: Prior to pumpkins, which root vegetable did the Irish and Scottish carve on Halloween?
Question: Why do we carve jack-o’-lanterns?
Answer: The tradition comes from the tale of “Stingy Jack,” a man who cheated the devil and was sentenced to carry a glowing ember in a hollowed-out turnip for eternity.
Question: Why was Halloween nearly canceled as a holiday in the 1930s?
Answer: Pranksters and vandals were causing millions of dollars of damage to U.S. cities on Halloween night.
Question: Why do we trick or treat?
Answer: Trick-or-treating is thought to have started as a way for homeowners to reward pranksters for not vandalizing their home or soaping their windows on Halloween.
Question: Which sugary Halloween candy was originally called “chicken feed"?
Answer: Candy corn
Question: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, how many potential stops for trick-or-treaters were there in 2020?
Answer: There were 126.8 million occupied homes for trick-or-treaters to visit.
Question: What is the best horror movie of all time, according to IMDb?
Answer: "Alien," according to IMDb.
Question: Besides horror, what other genre did “Dracula” author Bram Stoker publish books in?
Question: What is the name of the fictional town in "The Lost Boys"?
Answer: Santa Clara, aka the "Murder Capital of the World"
Question: According to Billboard, which 1984 song returned to the charts on Billboard's "Hot 100" in October of 2021?
Answer: Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
Question: When selling a house, is the homeowner obligated to disclose that it's haunted?
Answer: According to Zillow, most states do not require sellers to disclose paranormal activity or any other dubious stigmatizations like murder on the property or appearances by ghostly apparitions.
Question: What historic weather event occurred on Halloween in 1991?
Answer: Affecting more than 23 million people, the "Halloween Blizzard" of 1991 lasted for three days, leaving nearly three feet of snow and two inches of ice across parts of the Midwest.