Common Halloween Superstitions
If you introduced today’s technology to people existing 100 years ago, believing in magic would be a rational response. Let’s say teleportation became possible in 50 years. If we saw this today we might believe it to be magic when the person disappeared in front of us.
What is Superstition?
Superstition is a belief in the supernatural and extraordinary. It can mean believing that events are connected even though there is nothing obvious linking the events. Common superstitions are often defined as irrational or ignorant beliefs, but it’s possible to be an intelligent and rational person while simultaneously being superstitious.
In fact, superstition, intelligence and belief in the supernatural are all a rational response in certain situations.
Common Halloween Superstitions
Halloween is a time when common superstitions and mythology can be celebrated. It’s a time for mystery, fun and fantasy. Festivities go back 2,000 years to the sacred bonfires of Samhain, which means there has been a lot of time to develop Halloween superstitions and traditions.
A commonly asked question is:
What does it mean to see a spider on halloween?
Below is the answer to that question and many more. There are Halloween superstitions and other common superstitions that have a spooky theme. You will find spider superstitions, cemetery superstitions, owl superstitions and black cat superstitions.
While many of these are American superstitions, you will also find beliefs from all over the world and from many different time periods. Some of these Halloween superstitions still exist in the modern world and some are ancient in origin.
Halloween Superstitions List
- One of the old Halloween superstitions says the souls trapped in purgatory are set free for 48 hours on All Hallows Eve.
- If you wear your clothing inside out and then walk backwards on Halloween, you will see a witch at midnight.
- On Halloween you can cut open an apple horizontally and count the seeds to learn how many children you will have.
- After bobbing for apples, place the apple under your pillow to dream about your future husband or wife.
- Wearing a costume or disguise on Halloween night tricks evil spirits by hiding your true identity.
- At midnight on Halloween, light a new orange colored candle and let it burn until sunrise to receive good luck. (This one sounds like a fire hazard).
- Catch a snail on Halloween night and lock it in a flat dish. In the morning you will find the snail has written the first letter of your sweetheart’s name in slime.
- Stare into an open flame on Halloween and you may see the future. (Melisandre from Game of Thrones says this one is true).
- Place a silver coin and and some rosemary under your pillow on Halloween night if you want to dream about your future husband or wife.
- Go to a spring of water on Halloween night while carrying a lantern to find your future love. Look into the water using your light and you will see the reflection of your future wife or husband.
- Standing at a crossroads on Halloween night will attract spirits traveling the earth to you. Halloween superstition says the spirits will whisper about your future. Be warned, crossroads are a dangerous place where a man can sell his soul to the devil. Thieves and suicides would be intentionally buried at crossroads to make it difficult for their ghosts to know which road led back home.
- Burying some animal bones or a picture of an animal near your doorway on Halloween will prevent ghosts from coming into the house.
- Seeing a spider on Halloween means the spirit of a loved one is watching over you.
- Carefully peel an apple on Halloween so that it’s one long strip. Next throw the peel over your shoulder and if it forms an initial when it hits the ground, that’s the letter of your future love’s first name.
- Anyone fated to die within the next year will get a sign on Halloween night. The unfortunate soul will hear a sigh in the wind that’s believed to be the sound of wind blowing over the feet of the dead.
- American superstition says anyone born on Halloween has the Second Sight. They can see and communicate with spirits while being protected from evils spirits their entire life.
- Ringing bells on Halloween will chase away evil spirits. (Thank you trick-or-treaters for ringing the doorbell)
- One of the British Halloween superstitions say nuts can be used as magic charms. This is because they believed the devil would gather and use nuts.
- An old Scottish superstition had women hanging a wet sheet by the fire on Halloween night in hopes of seeing visions of her future husband.
- One of the oldest Halloween superstitions says that open flames light the way for souls looking for the afterlife.
- If a candle flame is blown out by itself or turns blue, it’s a sign that there is a spirit nearby.
- One of the many old Celtic Halloween traditions was to place an ember inside a turnip to keep evil spirits away. We still do this today by placing a candle inside a jack-o-lantern.
- You can walk counter-clockwise around your home three times backwards before sunset on Halloween to protect it from evil spirits.
- One of the common superstitions when bobbing for apples is that the first person to bite an apple will be the next to marry.
- Hunting on Halloween is risky business because you can injure and anger a wandering spirit.
- If you hear footsteps behind you on Halloween, ignore them. There might be dead spirits walking behind you who will kill you when you turn around.
- Women could learn which one of the men in her life would be her future husband by lining up hazelnuts in front of the fire. Each nut would symbolize a suitor. She would line up the nuts and chant “If you hate me, burn and die. If you love me, pop and fly.”
- Anyone traveling on Halloween should carry a piece of bread crossed with salt in their pocket. It will keep them safe from evil spirits.
- Take a candle into a dark room and look into a mirror, while eating an apple you sliced into pieces. When you get to the last piece, your future husband will appear behind you asking for the last piece of apple. (Aaaaahhh!)
Cemetery Superstitions List
There are many Halloween superstitions that take place around the cemetery or graveyard. Common superstitions involve graves, ghosts and burial sites. For fun, here is the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery. A graveyard adjoins a church and is the “yard” where burials take place. A cemetery is a designated burial ground that is not associated with a church.
- When you go past a graveyard, or anyplace where someone has died, you must turn your pockets inside out so you don’t bring a ghost home with you.
- One of the old common superstitions say ploughing or digging into any land that has had a body buried in it is bad luck.
- An old cemetery superstition states that in a new graveyard the body that fills the first grave will always be claimed by the devil. Germans would avoid this curse by burying a dog or a pig first.
- Being buried in a grave on the south side of the church is the holiest location in a cemetery.
- A common superstition says you must hold your breath while driving past a cemetery. If you breathe, each breath can wake a spirit, make a spirit jealous, or let it enter your body.
- Pointing at a grave will make your finger rot off.
- An old superstition says sharing a grave with a stillborn child is a guaranteed way into Heaven. The adult will guide and comfort the baby, to make sure the child finds its way into paradise.
- Putting a piece of clothing from any living person onto a corpse, and then into a coffin should never be done. Whoever owns the clothing will slowly deteriorate in life as the corpse decays in the coffin.
- If you go to a funeral and hear thunder soon after, it means the deceased soul has made it to heaven.
- When having a wake in a home, all the mirrors should be covered so the dead can’t show themselves in the mirrors. The living should also avoid using any mirrors at this time.
- After leaving a wake, don’t go straight home or you risk having spirits follow you to your house.
Owl Superstition List
There are just as many good owl superstitions as there are bad. Owl superstition and mythology is a lengthy topic with a long history. Here are a few Halloween themed owl superstitions.
• To hear an owl’s hoot means someone is about to die.
• Owls eat the souls of the dying when they swoop down to earth.
• Owls have been associated with death throughout history so it’s said to be a death omen if an owl perches on your roof or constantly hoots nearby. Some believe it can be the death of a job, a relationship or something other than physical death.
• One owl superstition says the glassy stare of an owl is an omen for disaster.
• An abandoned house with an owl living in it is likely a haunted house. This is because owls can happily exist with ghosts nearby.
• Dreaming of an owl while on a trip is a warning of danger to come. Stay alert for trouble because you may be robbed or become stranded. For more owl superstition in dreams check out this Speaking Tree site.
Common Myths & Common Superstitions List
These are not limited to Halloween superstitions, but many of them do have a spooky theme. There are common superstitions about birds, bats, death and more. You have probably heard some of these before, but hopefully you will find some fun new myths and superstitions below.
- If you cast no shadow or a headless shadow, death will come for you in the next year.
- Using a broom to sweep dirt or dust out your front door after dark is likely to bring an unwanted visitor to your home.
- A common myth is that the image in a mirror represents your soul. If you break a mirror it can mean seven years bad luck according to common superstitions.
- Celts believed spirits and gods lived in the trees, so they would knock on wood for protection or to show gratitude after experiencing good luck. This is where the common superstition of knocking on wood comes from.
- Walking around a ghost nine times will make it disappear.
- Singing while eating food can attract a witch.
- A common myth is that a person’s hair can turn white in one night if they experience a terrible fright.
- If a bat circles a house three times, death is on the way.
- When someone dies, you must stop the clock in the room they died in to avoid having bad luck.
- If someone in the neighborhood or a tight nit community dies, be on the watch for more deaths. If deaths keeps happening over and over, the string of deaths can only be broken by someone having a baby or getting married.
- Hanging a horseshoe over your door, with the open end up can help keep witches away.
- Sparrows were believed to carry the souls of the dead.
- Irish superstitions say clovers provide protection from evil spells and finding a four leaf clover is especially lucky.
- You have probably heard that itchy palms mean money is coming, but according to common superstitions this isn’t the whole story. A right palm that itches means money will be coming to you, but an itchy left palm means you will have to pay out money. To stop the left palm, use a piece of wood to scratch it. Don’t scratch your right palm or the money may not come to you.
- Putting a knife with a black handle under the pillow can ward off nightmares.
- One of the older common superstitions say a sudden chill up your spine means someone is walking over your future gravesite.
- A bird flying into the house means important news will be coming soon. If you can’t get the bird to leave it means the news will be bad, maybe even a death.
- Don’t appear in photographs in groups of three. If you do, the one in the middle is in danger of dying.
- A bat flying in your home means there may be ghosts or spirits present.
- Three Knocks of Death: If you hear three knocks but nobody is there, it means someone close to you has died.
- Lying in a coffin for any reason will invite death to you.
Black Cat Superstitions List
Black cats have gotten a bad reputation in America, as you will see below with these black cat superstitions. Don’t despair, in many other areas of the world, black cat superstitions say black cats are good luck and it’s the white cats you have to watch out for.
• Killing or injuring a black cat on Halloween will give you seven years of bad luck.
• Coming across a black cat on Halloween could mean a witch is nearby.
• A black cat meowing outside the window means a family death may be coming.
• These black cat Halloween superstitions are exact opposites depending on where you are:
– In North America a white cat crossing your path is good luck and a black cat crossing your path is bad luck.
– In Ireland, Japan and Britain a white cat crossing your path is bad luck and a black cat crossing your path is good luck.
Spider Superstitions List
Many spider superstitions say that spiders are good luck and will bring good fortune. Well, I’m not buying it! I will pass the spider superstitions on to you in an unbiased manner. However, I’m afraid of spiders so you will never convince me to celebrate a spider climbing on my wall.
- Spiders living in your home are a sign of good fortune.
- If you find a spider web across your door, expect a visitor to arrive soon.
- If you see a spider on Halloween it means a dead loved one is watching over you.
- Consuming a spider syrup can break a fever.
- Stepping on a spider will bring rain.
- Seeing a spider climb the wall means your hopes and dreams will come true.
- Seeing a spider on a wedding dress means good luck is coming.
- A black spider living above your bed will bring misfortune.
- A white spider living above your bed will bring good luck.
- Seeing a spider building it’s web means your hard work will bring an increase in income.
I hope you enjoyed reading about these Halloween superstitions, if you are interested in more holiday topics check these out:
Leave us a message on Facebook to share any Halloween superstitions that aren’t listed here.