A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

November 2, 2009

Originally, indigenous people in what is now Mexico celebrated the Day of the Dead around August. The Spaniards moved it to Nov. 1 and 2 to coincide with the Catholic All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. 
Source: Arizona Republic

November 1, 2009

In the 800s, Pope Boniface IV declared that Nov. 1 would be All Saints’ Day, a designation that is seen as an attempt to supersede a Celtic celebration marking the beginning of winter, when ghosts were thought to roam the earth. 
Source: History.com

October 31, 2009

The Catholic Church’s All Saints’ Day ( "Alholowmesse" in Middle English) was called All-hallows and the night before, All-hallows Eve, which became the word Halloween.
Source: History.com

October 30, 2009

Halloween’s origins date back 2,000 years to the Celtic new year’s eve celebration, called Samhain, when the harvest ended and winter began. The Celts believed that the ghosts of the dead walked the earth on Oct. 31.
Source: History.com

October 29, 2009

In the early 1990s before a vaccine was available for chickenpox, about 50 children and 50 adults died from the disease each year. Some deaths still occur in unvaccinated individuals.
Source: CDC

October 28, 2009

The U.S. record for the most precipitation in 1 minute is 1.23 inches, which fell in Unionville, Md., on July 4, 1956.
Source: NOAA’s National Weather Service

October 27, 2009

In 1584 French explorer Jacques Cartier said he found "gros melons" in the St. Lawrence region of North America. The name was translated as "pompions" in English, and that word became "pumpkin."

Source: History.com

October 26, 2009

The jack-o’-lantern, according to Irish legend, is named for Stingy Jack, a blacksmith who cheated the devil and later was fated to wander the earth carrying a burning ember inside a carved turnip.
 
Source: History.com

October 25, 2009

Irish immigrants brought the tradition of carving jack-o’-lanterns to the United States. When they couldn’t find the turnips the Irish used back home, they carved pumpkins instead.
Source: BBC

October 24, 2009

In Ireland, jack-o’-lanterns were once carved from turnips.
Source: BBC