Halloween superstitions explained

Kate Hibbard
Managing Editor
Photo courtesy of dvd-ppt-slideshow.com

Photo courtesy of dvd-ppt-slideshow.com

All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, was gradually integrated into American culture through Irish and Scottish immigrants’ celebrations in the 1800s. Over the past 200 years, Halloween has evolved into the costume-covered, candy-grabbin’ holiday we’ve come to know and love today.

Though the holiday is ever-changing, some common superstitions have withstood the test of time and are still held by many today.

Here are some popular superstitions according to americanfolklore.net:

Black cats

Black cats bring bad luck when they cross someone’s path. If one were to hurt a black cat on Halloween, he/she could have seven years of bad luck. Also, if a black cat meows on your porch or near your window, it could signify an upcoming death in your family.


It’s said that, if you hold your breath while driving by a cemetery, evil spirits won’t be able to enter your body. Some also believe that turning your pockets old when you pass a graveyard will ensure you don’t bring home a ghost in your pocket.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org


Burning a candle inside a jack-o-lantern on Halloween is supposed to keep evil spirits and demons at bay. This comes from the legend of Jack who ran into the devil one night and tricked him into trapping himself in a tree. The devil threw an ember from the depths of Hell at Jack in anger and Jack stored the ember in a carved-out turnip.


Apparently, if you see a spider on Halloween night, it means that the spirit of a dead loved one is watching over you.

Tolling Bells

If you ring bells on Halloween, they will chase away evil spirits.


According to myth, putting your clothes on inside out and walking backwards on Halloween night will allow you to meet a witch.

Some superstitions are not so widely held, but are interesting nonetheless.
One belief says that person born on Halloween is completely protected from evil spirits, and may even have the ability to see and converse with ghosts.

Another says that putting a silver sixpence and a sprig of rosemary under your pillow on Halloween night will allow you to dream of your future significant other.


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