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Halloween Symbols

Posted by admin On May - 23 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Halloween Symbols


The calendar flips to October, the leaves begin to change their color and suddenly the decorations for Halloween begin to go up. Even if someone had no idea what Halloween was, they would know it was coming up and be able to gauge from the Halloween symbols that it is a spooky holiday. Certain things have come to represent Halloween either because of tradition and legend or just due to their connection to the macabre.


Individual Halloween Symbols


Some popular Halloween symbols include witches, ghosts, spiders, bats, vampires, skeletons, graves, jack-o’-lanterns, black cats and monsters. With a holiday that dates back to the Celts and the Druids, it is bound to have picked up some stories and traditions along the way. Though many things that have become symbolic to the holiday because of rituals related to the day, some just tie in to the spooky element.


Jack-’o’-Lanterns – This has become one of many popular Halloween symbols as well as rituals and traditions. The jack-o’-lantern has become a great representation of Halloween since families often come together to choose their pumpkins as well as prepare them for the final look. Yet few know the supposed Irish folklore origin of this carved pumpkin.


It basically has to do with a stingy man named Jack who tricked the Devil not once but twice in order to prevent the Devil from taking his soul. After Jack’s death Heaven refused him and Hell couldn’t take him because of the agreement. The Devil sent Jack on his way back to where he came from with only an ever-burning ember from the flames of hell to light his way. Needing something to carry this hot coal in, Jack found a turnip and carved himself a lantern. Irish immigrants quickly discovered pumpkins and thought that would make a much better candle holder to carry on their tradition than a turnip.


Witches – These familiar Halloween symbols pop up everywhere for the season, from decorations to greeting cards to Halloween costume parties, and for good reason. Witches have been around for eons and were often thought to have mystical powers, partly because of their connection to Satan or the spirit world. Their most notorious gatherings were thought to happen during the two major season changes on April 30 and, of course, October 31.


Spells would be cast, witches brews boiled, and these creatures would often change their shape during the witchcraft meetings. They flew on broomsticks, gathered around cauldrons, made potions involving toads and kept black cats as pets, leading to all of these items or images to become Halloween symbols as well.


Bats – While actually not vicious, evil or terrifying at all, bats have become a familiar symbol tied to Halloween. Much of this is to blame on vampire bats, who do suck blood, but just enough for survival without usually killing another animal, such as a cow. Since most vampire tales claim that these mythological creatures transform into bats for flight and to enter places with greater ease, bats have become a symbol of evil and all things ghoulish.

Bats have also been linked to witches, either flying about from their caves while witches perform their ritualistic ceremonies or for actually becoming part of a witch’s brew. Bat wings, blood and other parts have been famous for being part of the recipes for witch’s spells or options to give themselves the ability to fly, along with other not-so-nice things.


Spiders – These arachnids have become part of Halloween imagery because of their connections to witches as well as abandoned haunted houses. Witches were thought to invite spiders into their homes as pets, companions or for use in potions. They are often affiliated with the extra creepiness one might find in the overhead corners of dilapidated houses of haunts or horrors. Not to mention, the stories tied to writing spiders. It is thought that if a writing spider spins your name in its web, you are destined for death in the near future.


Death and the Celts – It would be impossible to list each one of the many Halloween symbols, as well as their meaning. Consider that many things that can be a representation of the old Celtic festivity known as Samhain, the original Halloween, or death conjures up holiday themes. Halloween costumes, for example, have been used since the first Samhains though the original disguises were animal skins.


The connection to death also brings to mind plenty of images, especially skeletons and ghosts. Anything that could be considered spooky and relate to death, including graves and cemeteries, are bound to be perfect subject matter for creating Halloween symbols.



Halloween Symbols

We’ve come to know Halloween as a time to dress up and go out trick or treating, or host a family party.  Halloween’s practices and symbols have breathed new life into a few dark practices of ancient civilizations.  Many Halloween symbols are familiar to peoples scattered across the globe, but every group does take new meaning into each Halloween symbol and gives it their own kind of spin.  Some believe that a symbol represents thrills and chills while others believe that some of the symbols mean death or that they are either scary, or life affirming.

Amongst some believers, these symbols are evil and representative of an occult and satanic world.  It all depends on what culture people are from and what they have come to believe as the truth.  Some images are a mixed bag and can come from something like the fantasy Dungeons and Dragons, Aztec art, Tarot cards, and ads for Halloween costumes and accessories.  Halloween symbols are popular and have lasted for generations, as well as appearing to be here to stay.  Halloween can be a spiritual war for some and scary, but good fun, for others.



Bats are harmless creatures and these mammals actually fly.  They eat a lot of insects such as mosquitoes and their appetites can be ravenous.  One bat, the vampire bat, drinks flood — usually from cattle.  Vampires are reputed to be able to change into a bat at will, hence the name.  Some bats will only eat fruit.  In Eastern countries, bats can represent good luck.  There is an interesting bat exhibit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Disneyworld.  Visitors may walk through and observe bats (or not) and learn a lot about this night creature’s habits.



This has long been associated with bats and was used to great effect in Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  No matter how hard he tried, poor Mickey Mouse soon became inundated with water because all of the brooms kept multiplying and carrying buckets of water!  With the popularity of Harry Potter books and movies, broomsticks are more popular than ever, especially for a good game of Quidditch!


Black Cat

In both Japan and Western cultures, a black cat can be linked to either white or black magic.  For today’s Halloween décor they are most often seen on porches alongside of pumpkins, and made from curly black plastic!



Gore has always fascinated people in  a spooky way and many Halloween themed movies and books really play it up.  Knives, in horror movies, seem to produce the most amount of blood and chills and thrills.  People need blood to live so that could be why vampires are popular at Halloween time as they just love blood!  A fear of losing blood and then dying is at the core of people’s chills when around vampires and their kin.


Evil or Spooky Eye

Both Harry Potter fans and many cultures around the world consider an evil eye a bad sign.  Most everyone knows what an Eye of Horus looks like and it has come to symbolize the Ancient Egyptian culture.  Evil eyes have been featured in a lot of Halloween and other horror movies for decades.



Ghosts are the quintessential Halloween symbol and kids love to dress up as ghosts, while adults can be a lot of different ghostly types such as pirates, dead brides (Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas), and many others.  Ghosts can also come in different shapes and sizes and be seen or not, or even half seen out of the corner of your eye.  They have also been caught on films about the paranormal.


Pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns are the universally recognized symbol of Halloween in both Europe and America.  In the British isles, jack-o-lanterns were made from turnips or gourds.  When children go out trick or treating, a plastic pumpkin container is usually their container of choice.