Courtesy of Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Milano

Every year, Halloween comes around and many individuals let the spooky season creep into their thoughts, resulting in superstitions. Some are convincing, while others can be unbelievable. Superstitions are beliefs in the paranormal or actions performed by the supernatural as a consequence. Halloween is a holiday shrouded in superstition, and these are the stories behind some of the most common myths:

Black Cats: The idea that black cats bring bad luck is an age-old superstition most commonly associated with Halloween. Black cats have often been affiliated with death and witchcraft in mythology. In the Dark Ages, it was believed that witches took the form of black cats to avoid being detected by mortals. In some European countries, black cats were killed in an attempt to ward off witches and evil spirits.

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Jack-O’-Lanterns: The modern tradition of pumpkin carving has roots in the Irish folktale about a man called Stingy Jack. Jack fooled Satan into letting him stay on Earth, but Jack was not able to enter heaven, so he was stuck between heaven and hell for eternity. Satan gave him some embers, and Jack found some radishes, so Jack carved out the radishes to make lanterns. He placed the embers inside to guide his lost soul. Thus, the tradition of jack-o’-lantern carving stems from the belief that placing a jack-o’-lantern on your doorstep will help guide lost souls home, and the faces carved into them are meant to scare away evil spirits.

Bats: Legend has it that bats are witches’ accomplices, and that if you see a bat on Halloween, you could be in danger. One myth says that if a bat flies around the roof of a house three times, someone in the house will soon die. Another myth states that if a bat flies into your house on the night of Halloween, it is a sign that your house is haunted. Additionally, people believed that if a bat got into your house, it was because a ghost had let it in.

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Costumes: Dating back to Celtic tradition is the practice of wearing costumes. It used to be thought that on All Hallows’ Eve, spirits visited Earth in human form and went door to door begging for money. The people who refused to donate to these spirits were taken to the underworld for eternity. Now, people of all ages like to dress up as anyone, from their favorite movie characters to iconic celebrities.

Halloween has been a fun and spooky holiday for many centuries and among many cultures. Whether you prefer to go to a costume party, trick-or-treat with friends, or stay at home and watch scary movies, Halloween is a great time to eat candy and learn about the origins of the holiday’s superstitions.