Symbols of Halloween

Halloween originated in part as a celebration con­nected with evil spirits and the dead.

Witches flying on broomsticks with black cats, ghosts, goblins, and skel­etons have all evolved as symbols of

Halloween. They are popular as trick-or-treat costumes, and decorations for greeting cards and windows. Black is one of the traditional Halloween colors, probably be­cause Halloween festivals and traditions took place at night and also marked the beginning of winter darkness. In the weeks before October 31, retail shops and school windows are decorated with silhouettes of witches and black cats. Some people decorate their front door with Halloween symbols or fake spider webs. Others create elaborate and scary scenes, such as spooky graveyards, on their front lawns.

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Pumpkins are also a symbol of Halloween. Since the pumpkin is a large, orange-colored squash, orange has become the other traditional Halloween color. Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a Hallow­een custom dating back to Ireland. A legend grew up about a man named Jack who was so stingy that he was not allowed into heaven when he died. His spirit was doomed to wander around the countryside, holding a lantern to light his way.

The Irish people carved scary faces out of turnips rep­resenting “Jack of the Lantern,” or Jack-o’-lantern. When the Irish brought their customs to the United States, they carved faces on pumpkins because in the autumn, pumpkins were more plentiful than turnips. Today a jack-o’-lantern, with a candle lit and glowing inside, is placed in the window or on the front porch of a house on Halloween night to let costumed chil­dren know that there are goodies waiting if they knock on the door and say “Trick or Treat!”

Updated: 18th July 2015 — 3:13 pm