• Lexi Ponder

Halloween superstitions explained

Halloween is known for the day when everyone gathers to celebrate the terrifying things in life or to just pile up on unhealthy, sweet treats. However, for decades there have always been the Halloween superstitions that scare people into not even wanting to leave their homes on the night.

The first superstition that even your family has warned you about is the black cat, a symbol for bad luck or danger. The black cat has been known since the Dark Ages, when witches came to be one of the most terrifying things to hear about. According to Live Science, “Elderly, solitary women were often accused of witchcraft, and their pet cats were said to be their ‘familiars,’ or demonic animals that had been given to them by the devil.” Another myth often told about the superstitious black cat is that Satan turned himself into a black cat when talking with witches. However, this superstition is not shared everywhere: black cats in places like Ireland, Scotland, and England, are believed to be good luck.

There are multiple ways to celebrate Halloween; one important way is to dress up in terrifying costumes and go Trick-Or-Treating. In older times, during Samhain, it was believed that the line between our world and the spirit world was very thin. This being said, it was also believed that the spirits could come over to the real world and “mingle with the living.” The superstition was that spirits would be disguised in human form, such as a beggar, and would go door-to-door and beg for money or food. If you didn’t give them anything, it would mean you are risking being cursed or haunted by that spirit. Another (Celtic) myth was that dressing up in terrifying clothing, or like a “ghoul,” would trick the evil spirits into believing you were one of them so they would ignore you and not try to take your soul.

Most costumes children and even adults dress up as during this time are typically something evil, terrifying, or somewhat comical. One of the main costumes you hear about or see every Halloween is the Dark Age’s witches. When asked about the stereotypical witch, most people immediately imagine a wretched, old woman with a black pointy hat and a “warty nose stirring a magical potion in her cauldron.” This idea originated from a pagan goddess known as “the crone.” She was honored during Samhain and was also referred to as “the old one” and the “Earth mother.” She symbolized wisdom, change, and the changing of the seasons. However, this image has changed to the old, disturbing, “menacing,” evil witch we think of today.