4 Misconceptions about Halloween that you Probably Believe
Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in America today, but it has a bit of a bad reputation as a holiday that flirts with the devil and perpetuates crime. But a lot of these beliefs aren’t based in fact, so we’re here to help you separate what’s real from what isn’t.
“Fact” 1: Candy your children get trick-or-treating could be dangerous and must be thoroughly checked for razor blades and drugs before it can be consumed.
Actual fact: About 24% of parents are afraid of their children being harmed by Halloween candy, according to a Harris Interactive Poll from 2011. Even people who aren’t actively afraid of Halloween candy are aware of the fact that bad things could happen, even though it’s unlikely. Except it’s not just unlikely. There is no evidence from police or medical records that any child has EVER been poisoned or injured from eating Halloween candy. We as humans tend to be naturally suspicious of strangers, but Halloween is proof that we can afford to be a little more trusting. For one night our children can go to the doors of strangers with any legitimate fear that someone is out to hurt them.
“Fact” 2: Sex offenders are out searching for young victims on Halloween.
Actual fact: According to police reports, Halloween does not experience more child sex crimes than any other day of the year. Fear of this happening has led some states to put forth measures specifically to prevent it such as counseling sessions for convicted sex offenders, but these measures are unnecessary and have not been shown to decrease incidents. This is because children are not at a particularly high risk of being sexually assaulted by a stranger on Halloween. In fact, children are not at a high risk of being sexually assaulted by a stranger on any day: almost 90% of child sex crimes are committed by someone the child knows. So all you parents can rest easy this Halloween, you’re children are much safer than the media would have you believe.
“Fact” 3: Jack-o-Lanterns are always Pumpkins.
Actual fact: The tradition of Halloween and the tradition of Jack-o-Lanterns both come from Scotland and Ireland. But pumpkins didn’t grow anywhere in Europe before the discovery of America, where they were first found. Before that time, people would carve faces into turnips, potatoes, and gourds to ward off dark spirits on Halloween. When Irish and Scottish settlers came to America they began using pumpkins to create Jack-o-lanterns, but this Halloween tradition can be celebrated using any fruit or vegetable.
“Fact” 4: Halloween is a satanic holiday.
Actual fact: Many religious people believe that the original holiday Halloween was based on, Samhain, was a holiday dedicated to devil worship, but this is just not true. The Celtic people who celebrated this holiday didn’t believe in the devil, and did not celebrate Samhain as a way to worship any god. Samhain was dedicated to the dead, who many believed came back as spirits on this day. Sacrifices of crops and food items were given to the dead, but there is little evidence that any human, or even animal sacrifices ever took place. The idea of this holiday being a time to worship the devil was perpetuated by the Catholic church later, when they wanted people to stop celebrating holidays that weren’t Christian.