Turn the last day before Thanksgiving break into a classroom trivia competition, or use these questions for a family trivia night after turkey dinner. These Thanksgiving trivia questions take you from the first Thanksgiving all the way through to parades and football.
General Thanksgiving Trivia
With such a long history, Thanksgiving has a lot of trivia that touches on geography, 5K races, and hurricanes.
1. How many American towns are named Turkey?
Four. They’re in Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas.
2. When and where was the first Turkey Trot?
The first Turkey Trot was in Buffalo, New York, in 1896.
3. How many people ran in the first Turkey Trot?
4. What happens at Cole’s Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts, each Thanksgiving?
It’s a National Day of Mourning for Native Americans who died at the hand of or because of European settlers.
5. What popular song’s real title is “The New England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day”?
“Over the River and Through the Woods.”
6. What holiday takes place the day after Thanksgiving?
Native American Heritage Day.
7. What hurricane hit on Thanksgiving Day?
Hurricane Otto hit Central America in 2016. It was the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall so late in the season.
8. What do Americans say they are most thankful for?
According to a 2021 YouGov survey, Americans are thankful for family, health, and life.
9. What is the traditional color of Thanksgiving?
10. What is Friendsgiving?
A recent tradition where friends come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
11. Which traditional Christmas song was actually written for Thanksgiving?
“Jingle Bells” was originally named “The One Horse Open Sleigh” and was written to be sung on Thanksgiving.
12. Which Founding Father said “No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day”?
Presidential Thanksgiving Trivia
Each president has had some impact on Thanksgiving, from setting the date to pardoning turkeys.
13. Who was the first president to make pardoning a turkey an annual event?
The George H.W. Bush administration made pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving an annual event.
14. Who was the first president to pardon a turkey?
John F. Kennedy pardoned the first turkey on November 19, 1963. The turkey he pardoned wore a sign that said “Good Eating, Mr. President!”
15. Who was the first president to order a national day of thanksgiving?
President George Washington designated November 26 as a Day of National Thanksgiving in 1789.
16. Which president made Thanksgiving a national holiday?
Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November Thanksgiving in 1863.
17. Which president received a live raccoon as a Thanksgiving present?
18. Which president set the official date for Thanksgiving?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt set the official date for Thanksgiving. Before he declared Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November, presidents declared Thanksgiving’s date each year.
19. Which Founding Father referred to the turkey as a “bird of courage”?
Thanksgiving Parade Trivia
It’s not Thanksgiving if the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade isn’t on TV—again, with tons of history and trivia.
20. In which city is the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade held?
New York City.
21. When were balloons introduced to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
In 1927. The balloons were invented by Tony Sarg, a puppeteer and theatrical designer. The original oversized balloons were shaped like animals and filled with oxygen.
22. Which balloon character has made the most appearances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
23. Which city has the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade?
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade—it debuted in 1920.
24. Which city’s Thanksgiving Day parade ends with Santa Claus getting a key to the city?
25. On average, how many people attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year?
26. How many people participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year?
27. How many pounds of glitter are sprinkled on Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade floats and costumes?
28. What holiday did the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrate?
Christmas. Macy’s wanted to encourage consumers to start shopping for the holidays with a parade on Thanksgiving.
29. Which retailer was the first to host a Thanksgiving Day parade?
Gimbels department store hosted a Thanksgiving Day parade in Philadelphia in 1920, four years before Macy’s first parade.
30. How long is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route?
Only 2.5 miles.
Trivia About the First Thanksgiving
Prior to the arrival of Colonists, Native communities observed various thanksgiving ceremonies, such as “Strawberry Thanksgiving” and “Green Corn Thanksgiving.” The English also had their own thanksgiving customs. In the summer of 1623, the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, declared a day of gratitude following an extended period of drought. Sometime between September 21 and November 9, 1621, after enduring prolonged illness and scarcity of provisions, the Pilgrims finally reaped a bountiful harvest. They expressed their gratitude for the fruits of their labor by celebrating Harvest Home, an English tradition, on the final day of the harvest. While the exact reasons remain uncertain, it is known that Wampanoag leader Massasoit and roughly 90 of his men joined the English in festivities and merriment for three days. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that a prevailing belief emerged among Americans, designating this occasion as the inaugural Thanksgiving.
31. Which Native American tribe celebrated Harvest Home with the Pilgrims?
32. In what month did the Harvest Home celebration take place?
33. How long was the Harvest Home celebration?
34. Was turkey served at the Harvest Home celebration?
Probably not. Venison, swan, duck, goose, fish, and lobster were more likely to be on the menu.
35. Were there women at the Harvest Home celebration?
Most likely not. The only eyewitness account mentions only men.
36. How did the Pilgrims refer to themselves sociopolitically?
37. What notable Native American served as an interpreter between the Pilgrims and Native Americans?
Squanto. A member of the Patuxet tribe, Squanto acted as a liaison between Native Americans and the Pilgrims.
38. How many passengers were on the Mayflower?
39. Which Native American leader formed an alliance with the Pilgrims that lasted 50 years?
Pilgrims raided Native American corn fields and robbed Native American graves when they first arrived in America. Then, in March 1621, Massasoit and the Pilgrims made a treaty of mutual protection, agreeing not to steal from or hurt each other. After 50 years, however, the United States began a series of deadly attacks on Native Americans.
40. Where did the Mayflower land when first arriving in America?
It landed in what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Read more: 29 Diverse and Thoughtful Thanksgiving Books
The table isn’t complete without turkey, a bird with as many fun facts as feathers.
41. How many turkeys are prepared for Thanksgiving in America each year?
42. Which turkeys gobble?
Male turkeys (female turkeys cackle).
43. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, how much does the heaviest turkey on record weigh?
44. When did the Butterball Turkey hotline start?
It started in 1981, and they fielded 11,000 calls that year.
45. How many calls does the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line get each year?
46. When did the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line first add male call operators?
47. What is an adult male turkey called?
A tom. A female turkey is called a hen.
48. How much does the average turkey weigh?
49. Which state produces the most turkey?
50. How long can a turkey be stored in a freezer?
An unopened whole turkey can be frozen for up to two years and still be cooked and eaten.
51. What is the flap of skin that hangs from a turkey’s neck called?
52. How many feathers does an adult turkey have?
Thanksgiving Dinner Trivia
From mashed potatoes to stuffing to pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving dinner’s foods each have their own story.
53. What percent of Americans don’t eat turkey as their main course on Thanksgiving?
54. How many Americans prefer leftovers to Thanksgiving dinner?
55. How many pumpkin pies are eaten each Thanksgiving?
56. What is Americans’ favorite pie?
57. How many calories do people typically eat at Thanksgiving dinner?
About 3,000, according to the Calorie Control Council.
58. When did canned cranberries first come about?
In 1912, businessman Marcus Urann changed the cranberry industry forever.
59. What is the most popular alternative to turkey?
60. What is America’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
61. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, how much did the world’s largest pumpkin pie weigh?
In 2010, the record weighed 3,699 pounds!
62. Which state produces the most cranberries?
Wisconsin is the largest producer of cranberries in the United States.
63. Where are cranberries grown?
In a bog.
64. How many turkeys are consumed each Thanksgiving?
45-46 million according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
65. How many cranberries are in one pound?
66. What is the turkey wishbone tradition?
Two people pull on the wishbone and the person with the larger piece gets to make a wish.
67. What is the most popular dish made with Thanksgiving leftovers in the United States?
68. Which state produces the most pumpkins in the United States?
69. Which food company first introduced green bean casserole?
Thanksgiving Football Trivia
From backyard football to post-turkey-dinner NFL games, football is as American as apple pie.
70. When was the first Thanksgiving college football game?
71. When was the first Thanksgiving NFL game?
72. Which two NFL teams have played a home game every Thanksgiving Day since 1966?
With exceptions in 1975 and 1977, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys have played home games every Thanksgiving since 1966.