Halloween Superstitions

¨Halloween may seem like it’s all about costumes and candy, but the holiday — which is relatively new to America, having only become popular in the early 1900s — has its roots in pagan beliefs. Dating back about 2,000 years, Halloween marked the Celtic New Year and was originally called Samhain, which translates to “summer’s end” in Gaelic,”  according to livescience.com. 

Many typical parts of Halloween have interesting origins:

Black Cats

  • The cat´s reputation goes back to the Dark Ages when witch hunts were routine, elderly women were accused of witchcraft, and their pet cats were believed to be ¨demonic¨ and given to them by the devil.
  • Another superstition about black cats is that Satan turned himself into a black cat when he socialized with witches.


  • Jack used the lit pumpkin to guide his lost soul. The Celts believed that when they placed the Jack-O-Lanterns outside, they helped guide lost spirits home when they wandered the streets on Halloween.
  • They were originally made with hollowed out turnips and a small candle was placed inside to scare away evil spirits.


  • One superstition is that if a spider falls into a candle-lit lamp and is burned, witches are nearby.
  • If you see a spider on Halloween, it means that the spirit of a loved one is close by.

Trick-Or-Treating in Halloween Costumes

  • ¨In olden times, it was believed that during Samhain, the veil between our world and the spirit world was thinnest, and that the ghosts of the deceased could mingle with the living. The superstition was that the visiting ghosts could disguise themselves in human form, such as a beggar, and knock on your door during Samhain asking for money or food. If you turned them away empty-handed, you risked receiving the wrath of the spirit and being cursed or haunted,” according to livescience.com.
  • A Celtic myth is that if you dressed up as a ghoul, the disguise would trick the evil spirits into thinking that you were one of them so they would not steal your soul.