Halloween Superstitions and Origins

Albert Jack's Mysterious World

Halloween derives its name from the fact that in the Christian calendar it occurs the day before ‘All Saints’ or All Hallows’ Day. It was the last night of the old year according to the ancient calendar of the Celts.

On that night it was said that the witches, hobgoblins, warlocks, and other evil spirits walked abroad and devoted themselves to wicked revels. But the good fairies, too, according to some folklore, made their appearance at this time, but only from the hour of dusk until midnight.

If you hear foot steps behind you on this night, don’t look back. It may be the dead following you. Turning back could mean that you will soon join the dead.

It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends.

Generated image

For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.

Today’s Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck.

This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages, when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into black cats.

Girls who carry a lamp to a spring of water on this night can see their future husband in the reflection.

Girls who carry a broken egg in a glass to a spring of water (during the day) can not only see their future husband by mixing some of the spring water into the glass, but she can also see a glimpse of her future children.

Girls should go into a field and there scatter the seed of hemp. While they did so they chanted “Hempseed I sow thee Come after me and show me”.

Upon suddenly turning round, it was declared that each girl would see a vision of the man who would be her husband.

To find out of your lover is true. select one of the letters which you have received from your sweetheart, especially one which contains a particularly passionate and important declaration; lay it wide open upon a table and then fold it nine times. Pin the folds together, place the letter in your left-hand glove, and slip it under your pillow.

If on that night you dream of silver, gems, glass, castles or clear water, your lover is true and his declarations are genuine; if you dream of linen, storms, fire, wood, flowers, or he is saluting you, he is false and has been deceiving you.

Mashed potatoes offer a method of divining who will be the first to wed. Into the heap of mashed potatoes a ring, a three penny-bit, a button, a heart-shaped charm, a shell and a key are inserted.

Then all the lights in the room are turned out, and each guest, armed with a spoon or fork, endeavors to find the hidden charms.

The one who finds the ring win marry first; the three penny-bit signifies wealth; the button, bachelorhood or spinsterhood; the heart, passionate love; the shell, long journeys; the key, great success and power.

The old Celtic custom was to light great bonfires on Halloween, and after these had burned out to make a circle of the ashes of each fire. Within this circle, and near the circumference, each member of the various families that had helped to make a fire would place a pebble.

If, on the next day, any stone was out of its place, or had been damaged, it was held to be an indication that the one to whom the stone belonged would die within twelve months.

Peel an apple from top to bottom. The person with the longest unbroken peel would be assured the longest life. If you threw the apple peel over your shoulder, the initial it forms upon landing is the initial of your future mate.

When bobbing for apples, it is believed that the first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry.

If you go to a crossroads at Halloween and listen to the wind, you will learn all the most important things that will befall you during the next twelve months.

A person born on Halloween can see and talk to spirits

To prevent ghosts coming into the house at Halloween, bury animal bones or a picture of an animal near the doorway.

If a girl puts a sprig of rosemary herb and a silver sixpence under her pillow on Halloween night, she will see her future husband in a dream.

In Britain, people believed that the Devil was a nut-gatherer. At Halloween, nuts were used as magic charms.

Some believe if you catch a snail on Halloween night and lock it into a flat dish, in the morning you will see the first letter of your sweetheart written in the snail’s slime

You should walk around your home three times backwards and counterclockwise before sunset on Halloween to ward off evil spirits

If you see a spider on Halloween, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you

If you ring a bell on Halloween, it will scare evil spirits away

If a candle flame suddenly turns blue, there’s a ghost nearby

A burning candle inside a “Jack-o’-lantern” keeps away evil spirits, ghosts and goblins.

If a candle suddenly goes out by itself – as if from a wind or breath, it usually means that a ghost has come to call.

You should always burn new candles on Halloween – for good luck. Never burn Halloween candles any other time of the year, since this may bring bad luck.

Looking deeply into the flame of a candle on Halloween will give you the gift of looking into the future

If you light an orange-colored candle on Halloween night and let it burn until the sun comes up you will have good luck.

Put your clothes on inside-out and walk backwards on Halloween if you want to meet a witch. – SuperstitionsOnline

More History & Origins in Money for Old Rope

Amazon   US   UK   AUS

Other Platforms

Paypal – American History

Assorted eBooks


You can follow Albert on Twitter and Facebook.
 Or join the free mailing list (top right) Feel free to comment on story below