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The Bats that haunt Halloween

Updated on October 15, 2014
 Fruit Bat
Fruit Bat

Why are Bats connected to Halloween?

There's something about bats. They end up attached to Halloween as spooky, scary creatures and a few hanging from your house are guaranteed to make the whole neighbourhood jumpy.

Why is at Halloween, that we decorate with bats?

For thousands of years we have been fascinated with, and often repelled by, these creatures of the night.

Once bats were regarded as semi-divine, and appeared in ancient legends from the deep dark places of the earth.

Now Halloween isn't Halloween without them.

Bats at Twilight

Bats at Twilight
Bats at Twilight

Bats on the Threshold

Bats are visible at the critical period when day turns to night. At twilight, the sun is below the horizon, in the transition from sunset to nightfall.

As the day meets the night we are at a turning point, a magical change from what-was-before to what-is-coming. This is a liminal time, we are on a threshold. Just as Halloween marks a threshold at the turning of the year.

Mysterious Cave - Entrance to the Underworld
Mysterious Cave - Entrance to the Underworld
Upside down
Upside down | Source

Bats in Mythology

Bats were seen as a forewarning of impending misfortune, or of death, as they come from the deep dark places of the earth, from the moist black depths to where souls fly to reach the Afterlife.

Bats are sacred to Persephone, daughter of Demeter, during the months of darkness when she rules in the Underworld.

As flying creatures, bats signify the sky, but they have many qualifications for Underworld symbolism as well.

Firstly, they are nocturnal, and the Underworld is a place of night. Bats hang upside-down, facing the Underworld; they roost in caves or dead trees and use streams as flyways.

Caves, tree roots, and streams were once believed to be gateways into the Underworld.

Bats, Cats and Witches

Halloween decorations of bats are as common as pumpkins. You'll find images of bats everywhere, flying across the full moon or accompanying witches on a broomstick joyride.

The medieval witchcraft texts place both bats and cats as familiars for witches and the negative reputation, arising from deep ignorance, clings on to this day.

Curiously cats, who were also considered as an evil companion to a witch, have since been redeemed from this diabolical connection. But not bats.

My Fruitbat Neighbour

Bat on the Merri Creek, at the back of my house
Bat on the Merri Creek, at the back of my house | Source

I have Bats for Neighours.

The Bats of Melbourne

How lucky am I? I don't have to wait for Halloween to see bats.

Each evening thousands of bats leave their roost on the river to feed on nectar and fruit in some bat cafeteria to my west. They fly straight over my house and when I sit on my porch I could almost touch them.

In the daytime I walk with my little granddaughter down to the river to see them hanging in the trees.

The Three Chinese Gods of Blessings, Prosperity, and Longevity
The Three Chinese Gods of Blessings, Prosperity, and Longevity

Bats in China

In China, the bat is a symbol of good luck and happiness.

The word for bat, fu, sounds like the word for happiness. The God of Happiness achieved through worldly goods is Fu Xing, often represented by a bat. In human form he has bats embroidered on his robes.

Fu Xing, Lu Xing, and Shou Xing are the Fu Lu Shou, the three Gods of Blessings, Prosperity, and Longevity, and sometimes identified as the Three Lucky Stars in Orion's belt.

Five bats together symbolise the five blessings of health, long life, wealth, love of virtue and a good death.

Saliva of vampire bats contains a substance called draculin used in modern medicine

Close up and personal with a Bat

Here's a good look at a bat.

This little fellow is beibg cared for by WildLife Officers until he's ready to be released back to the wild again.

What's this bat eating? Looks like a kiwifruit to me but it could be a fejoia

What we can learn from Bats

Our past uneducated habit of associating bats with death doesn't have to be a negative thing in itself. Being associated with death also means being associated with rebirth.

You can use the appearance of a bat to tell yourself that it's time for a transformation, for letting go of old habits and adopting new ones.

As a creature of the night and the dark, the bat can guide you through the darkness of confusion and help you face your fears.

The Bat means the opportunity for change and transformation, a coming out of the dark and being reborn.

When you meet a bat, welcome him as the Blessed Bringer of Change.

© 2010 Susanna Duffy

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I love bats, and they're out all through the summer as it's getting dark and all night long eating insects. I've thrown meal worms up in the air to them, and they grab them and eat them.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      My goodness, that is the cutest bat I have ever seen. Even your fruit bat is good looking. Very interesting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens loved ready this one

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image


      8 years ago

      Love bats! They are just the best for Halloween!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      8 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Love This one. Bats are one of my faves.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Congratulations! You've been SquidBoo Blasted. Happy Halloween!

    • WhiteOak50 profile image


      8 years ago

      VERY NICE! I am lensrolling over to my vampire bat lens.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      I certainly learned a lot about bats here. Great lens. Most surprising to me was that Dracula wasn't a totally random name.


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