Trick or trivia: A spooky Halloween quiz

We all love Halloween, but how much do you really know about the roots of dressing up and trick-or-treating? Take this quiz to test our knowledge on the history of this haunting holiday.

1. Where did the tradition of wearing masks on Halloween come from?

A. People who wore them as a practical joke to scare their neighbors and townspeople in the early 1930s.

B. People in Celtic times who wore them to avoid being recognized as human by the real spirits wandering around on Halloween night.

C. A tradition in which people danced around the fire wearing masks.

D. It used to be a way to respect the spirits so that they did not haunt the villages.

2. If you see a spider on Halloween night, what is it said to be?

A. An omen of good luck.

B. The minions of a witch.

C. An omen of death.

D. The spirit of a loved one watching you.

3. If you wanted to meet a witch on Halloween, how might you go about doing it?

A. On Halloween night, put your clothes on inside-out and walk backwards.

B. Place a black hat on your doorstep.

C. Bury a rotten apple in your front garden.

D. Burn a pumpkin in a bonfire.

4. What is the record for the world's fastest pumpkin-carving?

A. 11.36 seconds

B. 16.47 seconds

B. 24.03 seconds

C. 54.72 seconds

5. Why are scarecrows often associated with Halloween?

A. Their human-like features often gave them an eerie feel, so when dressing up to go trick-or-treating became popular, many people turned to them for costume ideas.

B. They date back to Celtic times when they were supposed to ward off spirits around Halloween time.

C. They symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.

D. There were myths that on Halloween night, scarecrows were possessed by demons and went around towns terrorizing people.

6. In World War II, what type of sweets were added to soldiers' rations?

A. Mars bars

B. Candy Corn

C. M&Ms

D. Tootsie Rolls

7. What was the medieval precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating called?

A. Ghouling

B. Souling

C. Hallowing

D. Mugging

8. What did jack-o'-lanterns used to be carved out of?

A. Turnips

B. Malformed Carrots

C. Potatoes

D. Wood



B. Dressing up and wearing masks is said to be an ancient tradition that the Celts carried out to escape the notice of the real spirits on Halloween night, which they called Samhain. Celts hoped the disguises would stop demons and spirits from recognizing them as humans.


D. According to legend, if you see a spider on Halloween, it just might be the spirit of a loved one watching over you. There are also many other superstitions about spiders on Halloween. Once says that if a spider falls into a candle-lit lamp, it means that the witches are nearby!


A. Some say that if you wear your clothes inside-out and walk backwards on Halloween night, you will meet a witch at midnight.


B. Stephen Clarke of the United States holds the Guinness World Record for the worlds' fastest pumpkin carving time of 16.47 seconds, smashing his old record of 24.03 seconds, on October 31, 2013. The rules of the competition state that the pumpkin must weigh less than 24 pounds and must be carved in a traditional way, which requires at least eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth.


C. Scarecrows symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday. They have been in use since at least ancient Egyptian times. The association with Halloween is as old as the festival itself, due to its association with the harvest. The color orange is also linked with Halloween because it symbolizes the harvest.


D. In World War II, Tootsie Rolls were added to soldiers' rations as they were very durable and could withstand many weather conditions. It was also the most popular candy in the Depression due to its low cost.


B. The medieval precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating was called Souling. On Hallowmas (Nov. 1), the poor would go from door to door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes. A soul cake is a small round cake made for All Hallows' Eve, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day to commemorate the dead in the Christian tradition.


A. In this ancient Irish tradition, people carved turnips to ward off evil spirits. There were no pumpkins in Ireland at that time, but the ancient Celtic people carved turnips, gourds, and other vegetables, and placed a glowing ember inside to ward of harmful spirits on Halloween. Irish immigrants in the 19th century brought the tradition of carving jack-o'-lanterns to America when they discovered that pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve than turnips. Today, 99% of pumpkins sold are for Halloween.


William Thomas, 13, is an iGeneration Youth writer living in London, U.K. Read more stories at