Halloween Symbols and What They Mean

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The calendar switches to October, the leaves start to change color, and suddenly, the Halloween decorations start to come up. Even if someone had no idea what is Halloween was, they would know it was coming and would be able to gauge from the Halloween symbols that it’s a spooky party. Some things come to represent Halloween because of lore, legend and simply because of a connection to the macabre.

Individual Halloween Symbols

Halloween Popular symbols include witches, ghosts, spiders, bats, vampires, skeletons, graves, pumpkin lanterns, black cats, and monsters. With vacations dating back to the Celts and Druids, some stories and traditions have certainly been learning along the way. Many things simultaneously became symbolic of the holiday because of rituals related to the day, some associated with the frightening element.

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halloween symbols copy and paste

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Jack-‘o’-Lanterns

This has become one of the many popular Halloween symbols as well as rituals and traditions. The pumpkin lantern has become a great representation of Halloween, as families often get together to pick out their pumpkins and get them ready for the final look. Yet few people know the supposed Irish folk origin of this carved pumpkin.

It has to do with a stingy man named Jack who cheated on the devil not once but twice to keep the devil from taking his soul. After Jack died, Heaven refused him, and Hell couldn’t take him because of the deal. The devil sent Jack on his way home from where he had come with only an ever-burning ember of hell flames to light his way. Needing something to carry this hot coal, Jack found a turnip and carved out a lantern for himself. Irish immigrants quickly discovered pumpkins and thought it would make a better candle holder to carry on their tradition than a turnip.

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how many halloween symbols can you name
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Witches

These familiar Halloween symbols appear everywhere for the season, from decorations to greeting cards to Halloween costume parties, and for a simple reason. Witches are around for eons and were often considering mystical powers, partially thanks to their connection to Satan or the mythical place. The most notorious rallies occur during the two significant season changes, April 30 and October 31.

Spells would be cast, witches brewed boiled beers, and these creatures often changed shape during witchcraft meetings. They flew on brooms, gathered around cauldrons, made potions involving toads, and kept black cats as pets, which allowed all of these objects or pictures to become symbols of Halloween as well.

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halloween symbols text

Bats

While not vicious, evil, or terrifying, bats became a well-known symbol of Halloween. Much of this blame the vampire bats, which suck blood but simply enough to survive without typically killing another animal, like a cow. Since most vampire tales claim that these mythological creatures transform bats to fly and enter places more easily, bats became a logo of evil and everyone that’s macabre.

Bats have also been linked to witches by flying from their caves while witches perform their ritual ceremonies or being part of a witch’s brew. Bat wings, blood, and other factors are notorious for being part of witch spell recipes or options for giving oneself the ability to fly, as well as other not-so-nice things.

scary halloween symbols

Spiders

These arachnids are now part of Halloween imagery due to their connections to witches as well as abandoned haunted houses. It believes that witches invited spiders to their homes as pets, companions or for potions. They are often associated with the extra goosebumps found in the upper corners of dilapidated houses of lairs or horrors. Not to mention the stories related to writing spiders. It believes that if a writing spider spins your name in its web, you are doomed to death shortly.

There are so many pumpkins, Bat, witches, cats, ghosts, masks, eyeballs, and spiders in this frame.
In this frame, so many pumpkins, Bat, witches, cats, ghosts, and spiders.

Death and the Celts

It would be impossible to list each of the many Halloween symbols, along with their meanings. Consider that many things that can represent the ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain, the original Halloween, or death conjure up holiday themes. Halloween costumes, for example, have been used since the earliest Samhains, although the original disguises are animal skins.

In this frame, so many pumpkins in the same frame.
in this frame, so many items, just like a ghost, candy, spider, pumpkin, bat

The link with death is also reminiscent of many images, especially of skeletons and ghosts. Anything that could be considered scary and death-related, including graves and cemeteries, is bound to be a perfect subject for creating Halloween symbols.