11 Things You Never Knew People Did On Halloween

Okay, time for some cool facts. Did you know that in St. Louis, kids celebrate Halloween by doing “tricks for treats” instead of going trick or treating? In other words, kids would go from door to door and tell jokes in exchange for candy. And also, did you know that in Austria, bread and water is usually left outside to welcome ghosts?

dead serious

This reminded me that not everyone celebrates Halloween the same way. Not everyone carves pumpkins, visits haunted houses, or goes to big Halloween parties. Halloween originated as a day to acknowledge and honor the dead, so there are many cultures that choose to stick with this tradition. But even though they might be similar in some places, they still vary from country to country. Check out these 12 things you never knew that people actually did on Halloween.


Staring Into A Dark Mirror

This tradition is most common in the UK and North America. People would stare into a mirror with all of the lights off. If the person will not be getting married in the future, a skull will appear as their reflection. But if the person does plan to get married, they will see the face of their future spouse looking over their shoulder. Creepy stuff!

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Hiding Knives

Some Koreans believe that spirits of the dead return on Halloween night. So in an attempt to protect those spirits, they make sure to hide all knives. If any knife is left out, they believe that the spirits could hurt themselves.

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Eating Irish Barmbrack

Okay, so there'e more to this Halloween tradition than eating a few slices of yummy raisin bread (also called barmbrack). Though Ireland follows many of the American Halloween customs, they usually prepare barmbrack with certain treats wrapped inside. These treats are indicators that can help predict the eater’s future. So for example, if you find a ring, this means that you will be in a romantic relationship soon.

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Lighting Candles For The Dead

In Belgium, Halloween night is a time to honor dead loved ones and relatives. People would light candles in memory of the deceased, say prayers over their graves, and share old stories about them.In Belgium, Halloween night is a time to honor dead loved ones and relatives. People would light candles in memory of the deceased, say prayers over their graves, and share old stories about them.

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Doing Tricks For Treats

We're pretty used to the idea of saying "trick or treat" to get candy, but in Des Moines and St. Louis, it's a trick for a treat. Kids would go door to door saying "tricks for treats," followed by a joke. Regardless of how funny these jokes are, the kids will usually get sweet treats in exchange.

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Welcoming The Ghosts Of Ancestors

People in Japan celebrate Halloween almost as often as Americans do. And some of their customs, which include dressing up in costumes, are very similar to American Halloween traditions.

But in addition to that, the holiday is celebrated with the OBod Festival, which is a Buddhist event to honor the spirits of ancestors who passed away. For the festival, they do things like gather fruits and cakes onto graveyards.

Photo Credit: Josh Fruhlinger, SVP, Lifestyle Content at DEFY Media

Leaving Food Outside To Welcome Ghosts

Many Austrians celebrate what is called “All Saint’s Week,” a holiday that starts on October 30th and ends November 8th. To honor and welcome souls of the dead, they leave bread and water outside of their homes and keep their lights on for an entire week.

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Gathering Photos Of The Dead

In China, people celebrate with a Halloween festival called Teng Chieh. They usually collect photographs of their loved ones and place food in front of them. They also light bonfires to help guide the spirits of loved ones when they visit on Halloween.

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Celebrating The Deceased With A Parade

In Mexico, Halloween is actually celebrated for three days and is known as the Day of the Dead (or El Dia de los Muertos). It’s a holiday to commemorate those who passed away, so people celebrate by having parades and dress as skeletons. Also, some people prepare altars for their deceased loved ones to help guide them home.

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Peeling Apples

In Scotland, this Halloween tradition involves peeling an entire apple horizontally, leaving a very long spiral of skin. After this, the person would throw the peel behind their backs. The letter shape of the peel on the ground is supposed to be the first letter of the name of your future husband or wife.

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Carving Beets And Turnips

According to History.com, the original jack-o-lanterns were actually carved from large beets and turnips. It’s one of the oldest traditions in the UK and it began before people even knew what pumpkins were. Although most people prefer to use pumpkins these days, some families choose to follow the old tradition.

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Are you familiar with any of these Halloween customs? Which of them surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments below!

You can follow the author, Nakeisha Campbell, on Twitter and Instagram.

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