Halloween is one of the oldest holidays in the world. The pagan festival was at times known as “Samhain”, a Celtic ritual that represented blurring of the barriers between the land of the living and the dead.
There are many legends how the holiday was celebrated back in Celtic times. Nowadays, some of those traditions have continued thanks to legends and myths. With that in mind, aside from the normal Halloween traditions, there are always some wacky, weird, and frankly, spooky traditions.
Thimble in the cake
This tradition dates back to colonial America. During those times, bakers baked a Halloween cake. And they made a point of hiding various things in the cake. The goal was to tell the future. One of the things they hide was a thimble, a symbol of bad luck. The presumption was that if you bite a cake and hit a thimble, you’ll be unlucky in love. Of course, that is on top that you will have to visit the dentist in the near future.
Turnips for Jacks
Carving a scary face on a vegetable is one of the oldest Halloween traditions. But there was a time when Jack-O-Lantern was carved on a different vegetable than pumpkin. Back in the days, the British tradition was to carve the scary face with turnips.
Pumpkins came to the scene when Irish immigrants took the idea of the Jack to America. They started using pumpkins. And the reason was simple, pumpkins were cheaper than turnips.
Beans of the Dead
Halloween is celebrated all over the world. And every nation has its own spooky tradition. One of the traditions in Italy is consuming “beans of the dead”.
The recipe is basically an oval cookie that looks a lot like a macaron. Called “Fave dei Morti”, the cookie is made of butter, almond flour, sugar, vanilla, egg, cinnamon, and zest of a lemon. Some bakers add food dye.
Murder of Kings
This tradition can be found in Ireland even nowadays. The tradition dates back to Celtic times. Ceremonial sacrifice involved dressing the king in special clothes, as well as grooming. Of course, nowadays we do not have true murders. Just a show.
Back in the days, when the year was a hard one, people would hold the king responsible for plagues or famines. The failed king would be sacrificed to the Gods, and the body was thrown into a bog.
Wearing animal heads
This is another tradition that dates back to Celtic times. Back then, people didn’t have modern tools for food production. They did random things and hoped it appeased the food gods. One of those random things was cutting off heads of farm animals and sticking their domes through the gaping neck wound.
This tradition of wearing animal heads is more of a joke and has entertaining value nowadays.
Spooky graveyard ritual
This ritual comes from Romania. As we know, Dracula is big in Romania, and a great tourist attraction. During the Halloween season, a lot of tourists visit Romania just because of that.
To make the experience more memorable, Romanian people have come up with a lot of traditions. One of the spooky ones involves waiting until nightfall, going into graveyards, and placing lit candles on the graves of loved ones.
Some of the other interesting Halloween traditions in Romania include turning mugs upside down, burying a huge hunk of salt in the stables, scattering breadcrumbs on the lawn and much more.
Dancing for treats
If you like to know the origin of the trick or treat tradition, go to dancing. Some experts believe that the tradition came from European “mumming”. This involved people in costumes playing songs and dancing for treats.
Ghost attack at midnight
One of the British traditions for Halloween includes turning off all lights and sit silently at midnight. The tradition is called “sleeping”, and it is a way of summoning the spirits. You can also say it is a great way of freaking everyone out by breaking the silence.
Mashed potatoes and foreign objects
We said that bakers used cakes to predict the future. But some also used mashed potatoes and hid foreign objects inside. The tradition dates back to the 18th century in Ireland.
For example, the one who would find a ring in the mashed potatoes was “the next one to be married”. Coins in the mashed potatoes meant “the next person to sue the cook for almost choking them to death”.