It’s the time of year for ghosts and goblins, tricks and treats, but where did these common customs become associated with Halloween?
Cultures around the world celebrate Halloween differently. Latin American countries commemorate All Saint’s Day with a three-day Dia De Los Muertos celebration to honor deceased loved ones beginning on Oct. 31. Ireland’s traditions include bonfires, pranks and food items like barmbrack, an Irish fruitcake that lends to fortunetelling.
Here is a look at 13 Halloween superstitions and traditions that are prevalent in American Halloween celebrations.
Bats: If a bat is seen flying around a house three times, it means that someone in the home will die soon. A bat flying into your home on Halloween is a sign that your house is haunted.
Bells: It is said that you can chase evil spirits away on Halloween by ringing bells.
Black Cats: It is thought that harming a black cat on Halloween brings seven years of bad luck. If a cat meows on your front porch or near a window then a death will soon occur in the family.
Bobbing for Apples: Apples were once thought to predict the future. In apple bobbing, the first person to get an apple would be the first to marry and anyone who got an apple on the first try would experience true love. Many girls placed a bobbed apple underneath their pillow on Halloween night because it was said she would dream about her future husband.
Cemeteries: Hold your breath while driving by a cemetery to prevent evil spirits from entering your body. When passing a graveyard or a house where a death has occurred, turn your pockets inside out to make sure you don’t bring home a ghost.
Costumes: A Celtic myth says that dressing as a ghoul will fool evil spirits into thinking you are one of them, ensuring they won’t try to take your soul.
Footsteps: If you hear footsteps behind you on Halloween night, don’t look back. It is thought to be a spirit following you, and turning back could mean that you will soon become one.
Ghosts: If you ever see a ghost, walk around it nine times and it will disappear.
Halloween Birthdays: Children born on Halloween are said to have the gift of second sight, including the power to ward off evil spirits.
Halloween Colors: The typical U.S. Halloween colors come from the pagan celebration of autumn. Orange symbolizes the color of the crops and turning leaves while black marks the death of summer and the changing season.
Jack-O’Lanterns: A burning candle inside the frightening faces of a Halloween pumpkin keeps evil spirits and demons away.
Spiders: If you see a spider on Halloween night, it means the spirit of a dead loved one is watching over you.
Warding off Spirits: Walk around your home three times backwards and counterclockwise before sunset on Halloween to ward off evil spirits.