Halloween is a day shrouded in darkness and mystery, it’s a day that represents death, when the spirits of the dead walk upon the earth. We already discussed the eerie history of Halloween, but today we’ll explore the many superstitions – good and bad – surrounding this holiday. From encounters with the Grim Reaper to divination, Halloween is a day of magic and horror.
Evil Spirits and Fairies
It was believed that Halloween was the day the spirits of the dead could wander freely on the earth. Because of this it was advised to stay away from places like cemeteries. People also warned not to do anything to offend fairies on this day, because they were particularly wicked on Halloween. Halloween was also said to be the day vampires, werewolves and other beasties came out in force.
Beware the Grim Reaper
It was said that if you are walking down a road on Halloween night and you hear footsteps behind you to NOT turn around and look behind you, for the steps are that of the Grim Reaper. One look at Death and he would kill you in an instant.
On Halloween night, never look at your own shadow in the moonlight, for it could bring on your own demise.
Being born on Halloween is actually considered very lucky. Anyone born on this day is said to have lifelong protection against evil spirits and will also be gifted with the second sight.
On Halloween farmers once circled their crops with lighted torches, believing that this would guarantee an excellent harvest. They would also drive their livestock in between the branches of rowan to protect them from evil influences.
The ability to see the future on Halloween was a very common belief and tradition. There are many superstitions surrounding divination on Halloween. According to Welsh tradition, anyone who goes to a crossroad on Halloween and carefully listens to the wind may learn what the next year has in store, and, if they listen at midnight, when the church clock strikes, they will hear the names of the locals who will die in the next year.
The most widely known Halloween divination tradition involves apples. Superstition says that a girl standing in front of a mirror on Halloween while eating and apple and combing her hair will see the reflection of her future husband. Another version of this tradition says that instead of eating the apple she must cut it into nine pieces, each stuck on the point of the knife, and hold it over her left shoulder. Another apple tradition is a girl peeling an apple in one long piece and tossing the peel into a bowl of water. It was said that the peel would take form of the first initial of her future love. It was also believed that if you hang an apple peel on a nail on the front door the initials of the first man to walk through will be the same as your future partner. But that’s not where the apple traditions end. Once upon a time, unmarried boys and girls would twirl apples on a string over a fire, the order in which the apples fall indicates the order they will be married (the owner of the last apple to fall will never marry). Then there is ducking for apples. You may think that this is just a silly game, but once it was the way to determine your future wife or husband. In one version, the owner of the apple you bite will be your future love. Alternately, if you place the apple you catch under your pillow as you sleep you will have visions of your future husband or wife.
Oh but the Halloween divination doesn’t end there. It was also said if you throw nuts into a fire on Halloween and they jump that your lover is being unfaithful. Another superstition says that if you place three dishes – one full of clean water, one with dirty water, and one empty – in front of a blindfolded person and invite them to place their hand in one, it will reveal information about their future love. If the clean water is picked, their future partner will be attractive and desirable; the foul water means that the future partner has already been married; and the empty dish means no future husband or wife at all.
There are many many more traditions on discovering your love on Halloween, but these are the most common.
There you have it Dear Readers, the deadly and romantic superstitions surrounding Halloween.