Ghosts and ghouls and goblins oh my! Halloween is a holiday dedicated to scaring each other and pretending to be monsters. So it should come as no surprise that there are almost as many superstitions in the world for this holiday, as there are candy inside childrens’ pillowcases. Here are a few of our favorite, or unfavorite, Halloween superstitions and lore from around the world.
Carving Pumpkins, or Jack O Lanterns actually comes from an evil fable about farmer named Jack who tried to trick the devil. Doing so, he was refused entry to both Heaven and Hell and was forced to wander around the streets aimlessly for the rest of time. He made a lantern from a hollowed out turnip and a burning lump of coal to guide his way through the darkness. Pagans would carve turnips and place lights inside to help lost souls find their way home during Gaelic celebrations. And the scary faces were used back then (and possibly now) to ward off or scare away any evil spirits that may be wandering around.
Bats got a bad reputation back in medieval times, when they were believed to be witches familiars. Taking stories like Dracula into consideration it should come as no surprise they are still revered with fear and considered a bad omen. Some of the superstitions surrounding them are that a bat circling your home three times or more means death is waiting for someone in the family. Also if a bat enters your home in some cultures it means death is near, or that the home is haunted and the ghosts let the bat in.
With Halloween comes witches. Most are the stereotypical image of the haggard witch stirring a magical potion in a cauldron. This depiction actually gets its roots from a pagan goddess. The “old one” also known as Crone is a goddess who was honored during Samhain for her all-encompassing wisdom.
Black and Orange
The color scheme of the holiday is not just for spooky effect. In Celtic times, Pagans used orange and black to signify the turning of the leaves to orange, and the death of the summer cropping season. Over time green, purple, and yellow have been incorporated into Halloween decorations however orange and black are still the predominant colors for Halloween.
There are endless superstitions and myths that are still held to this day. However for most Halloween is just a time for good old fashioned fun. That is unless a black cat inhibited by the devil should cross your path. Happy Halloween!