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How The Irish Invented Halloween, Trick Or Treatin And Pumpkin Carving

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Ah, Halloween, the holiday that Irish people invented.

Well, loosely speaking, but Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain(more on that later).

During Samhain, people would dress up in costumes and light big bonfires to ward off evil spirits.

Nowadays, Halloween is celebrated around the world with candy, costumes, and carving pumpkins.

Today I will share how all of these have routes tied to Irish history and Irish heritage and, of course, plenty of cheesy Halloween jokes. 

Where does a ghost go on vacation? Mali-boo. Haha, 

Speaking of cheesy jokes, what do witches put on their bagels? Scream cheese. 😂

A few of you might be reading and wondering just what on earth was Samhain? 

Halloween jokes and halloween facts for a spooky day

I don’t blame you; I certainly didn’t know its meaning until a few years ago

Around 2,000 years ago, the Celts, who lived in Ireland, the UK and Northern France, celebrated the new year on November 1st.

November 1st marked the end of the summer and harvest time and heralded the start of winter. Winter was often associated with death, and the Celts believed that on new year’s eve, October 31st, the boundary between the living and dead worlds blurred.

So, on this date, the Celts celebrated Samhain when the ghosts of the dead returned to the living world.

The Celts welcomed the ghosts of loved ones and family members.

However, they warded off the harmful ghosts. It was believed that these deadly ghosts damaged crops and caused lots of mischief and trouble.

There was also the belief that the ghosts helped the Druids (mediators between humans and gods and the dead) predict the future.

So what did they do to fight off these ghosts? 

The Druids lit huge bonfires to keep the evil spirits at bay. At these bonfires, the Celts would burn crops and the bones of slaughtered animals. 

Okay, so that’s just lovely, but did you know that the Irish invented trick or treating? 

How The Irish Invented Halloween

From as early as the 15th century, people in Ireland would go out mumming (also known as guising)

This is the tradition of putting on costumes and walking from door to door singing songs for the dead. As a thank you, the singers would be given cakes.

During the 19th century in Ireland, there was a tradition for a man to dress up on a white sheet and carry the decorated skull of a horse. He would lead a group of young people from farm to farm. Those in the group would blow cow horns.

Nowadays, we still dress up in costumes and roam from house to house. We may no longer blow cow horns or sing to the dead, but we still expect the treats.

Knock, Knock…
Who’s there?
Phillip!
Phillip who?
Phillip my bag with Halloween candy, please! 

Okay, but surely Irish people didn’t invent carving pumpkins on Halloween? 

Well, firstly, what do you call a fat pumpkin? A plumpkin.

What do you call a fat pumpkin? A plumpkin haha. Enjoy these cheesy Halloween jokes

Sticking with the evil spirits theme Irish people would carve out turnips and other root vegetables and place a lit candle inside. It was believed that this would ward off any evil spirits and ghosts and keep Stingy Jack away.

Stingy Jack? Are you making these up? 

No. Stingy Jack was a real thing. 

Stingy Jack was a mean old drunk who wasn’t very nice to people. Once, he even played a trick on the Devil. He tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree, and when he did, he placed crosses at the bottom of the tree.

The Devil was unable to get down from the tree as the Devil could not touch crosses. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise that he would not take his soul when he died. The Devil agreed, and Stingy Jack removed the crosses, and the Devil fled.

However, when Stingy Jack died, he was banished from heaven by St. Peter, who said that he was too mean and cruel to be allowed into heaven.

So Stingy Jack ended up in the dark Netherworld between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil to escape the Netherworld as there was no light to see his way out. The Devil gave him an ember from the flames of hell.

Stingy Jack, who always carried a turnip with him because it was his favourite food, hallowed out the vegetable and placed the ember inside. From that day forward, Stingy Jack walked the earth without a resting place. 

When the Irish emigrated to the United States, they took the tradition of carving out turnips with them. However, they discovered that pumpkins, which were not available back in Ireland, were bigger and easier to carve. From then on, they carved pumpkins and not turnips. 

Amazing, I know! 

How do you fix a damaged jack-o-lantern? You use a pumpkin patch!

The record for the most Jack O-lantern’s is held in Keene, New Hampshire

pumpkins ready to be carved for halloween another halloween fact

The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is a pumpkin festival held in Keene, New Hampshire, the United States, before Halloween.

Organizers say a pumpkin festival in Keene has broken a world record for having the most carved and lit jack-o-lanterns in one place.

Organizers tell WMUR-TV 30,581 pumpkins were lit at the same time on Saturday night, breaking a record set by Boston in 2006. Source

How do ghosts search the Web? They use ghoul-gle. 

Before I sign off, I hope you have enjoyed learning about just how the Irish invented Halloween. And my cheesy well placed Halloween jokes. For your sheer entertainment, I have added ten more cheezy Halloween jokes below. Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by.

10 Cheesy Halloween jokes:

  1. Where do baby ghosts go during the day? Dayscare centres!
  2. Why did the headless horseman go into business? He wanted to get ahead in life.
  3. What’s it like to be kissed by a vampire? It’s a pain in the neck.
  4. What does a pumpkin-like to read? Pulp fiction. 
  5. What’s a vampire’s favourite fruit? Neck-tarines.
  6. What genre of music does a mummy like the best? Wrap Music
  7. What do you call two witches who live together? Broom-mates.
  8. What does a panda ghost eat? Bam-BOO!
  9. Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Ben! Ben who? Ben waiting for Halloween all year!
  10. What did one ghost say to the other? Get a life!

Know any other great Halloween jokes? Comment below. 

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