A cat as black
As blackest coal
Is out upon
His midnight stroll,
His steps are soft,
His walk is slow,
His eyes are gold,
They flash and glow.
And so I run
And so I duck,
I do not need
His black-cat luck.
We have all heard of some traditions that stem from long ago in the medieval times, but there are many superstitions that can influence how you decorate your yard or home that could scare the Devil out of people who know of these. Others, will just think you are cool. Ha!
So we start with black cats. These animals have been thought to be the Devil transformed. He communes with the witches, but takes another form when our eyes fall upon him. Naturally, it would be viewed as bad luck to cross paths with the Devil… The traditional scary black cat with the arched back and hissing mouth is a great addition to your decor, even if it is on a window sill or at your door so visitors see its creepiness!
Bats have always been present in Halloween decor. These pesky winged creatures were always thought to be in the witches’ company.
If one is seen flying around your house three times, someone in your household will die. If one flies into your house, it means a ghost let it in and your house is haunted. There are some very realistic flying bats out there that attach to your awning and fly in circles and add that little extra something to your atmosphere on Halloween night!
I have never been a big fan ofspiders, but they are actually a good thing to see in your home on Halloween. If you see them, it means a deceased loved one is watching you. I suppose that could go either way, but that is the superstition. Just keep the candle lamps out of it, if a spider falls into one, that will mean that witches are nearby. I don’t think you want that. Or maybe knowing would serve you well. However, stores always stock a ton of spider merchandise at the Halloween holiday, from tiny little plastic rings to giant man-sized freaks that have red glowing eyes.
Cauldrons used to be viewed as the symbol of the Earth Mother’s womb. She was the pagan goddess that evolved into our modern day witch and her stirring enabled new souls to enter the cauldron after their death and the old souls would await reincarnation.
We, as Americans, added the drama of the bubbling potion within the pot. Perhaps this year, dress in a witch costume, then place a mirror within your cauldron, for the image in the mirror was believed to be your soul. Or place a scary holographic type mirror in there and dress as a witch, telling your visitors to look at what awaits them in the future. Then hand out fortune cookies as loot!
A little tidbit onbobbing for apples here…the fruit was harvested right at the time of Samhain, the All Hallows Eve festival, in the old Celtic lands. It was hugely celebrated among the hardworking people of the time. The apple became an iconic symbol of the harvest. When bobbing for apples, the one who can bite their apple first try is said to marry first. The ones who have to try and try will be fickle in their endeavors. And, if a girl sleeps with her apple under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband!
Other superstitions you may find strangely ghoulish are:
- The sound of bells and chimes chase away spirits.
- If you are born on Halloween, you are said to have the gift of ‘second sight’ and possess the powers to ward off evil spirits.
- Watch where you are standing, if the moonlight catches your shadow, you are doomed to bad luck or even death!
- Keep an eye on the candles of Halloween night, if they go out or the flames turn blue in color, the ghosts are about!
- Passing under the triangle of spirits beneath a ladder will fill you with bad luck! People used to be hanged from the top rung of a ladder before there were gallows and their spirit would be trapped beneath.
- If an owl looks in your window, or you see one in the daylight, bad luck or death will befall you.
- If you feel a chill up your spine, someone is walking on your future grave.
- White hair comes from great horror.
- If you hear three knocks and no one is there, someone close to you has died. They call it the three knocks of death.
- If you hold your breath while driving past a cemetery, ghosts cannot invade your body.
- If you turn your pockets out while passing a cemetery, a ghost cannot hide in your pocket and go home with you.
- If you live a good life, flowers will grow on your grave. If you live a bad life, weeds will grow instead.
Hope this inspires you to play on the superstitions of those around you and make it one spooky holiday!
Emma Rae Curtis is a costume/dressing up/makeup & accessories expert. She mainly writes about Halloween but also about all things costume and dress-up related.