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7 Scary Symbols of Halloween

Updated on October 5, 2012

Scare Yourself Silly with these Halloween Symbols

Halloween is currently celebrated all around the world.

Started by the Celts and celebrated each year on October 31st, there are numerous Halloween symbols that conjure up scary imagery and haunting manifestations of the supernatural.

Common symbols for Halloween include bats, gravestones, witches, pumpkins, owls, cats, and skulls and bones.

"When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
'tis near Halloween."
~ Author Unknown

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1. Bats

Spirits and Eternal Life

As bats and owls are nocturnal, both of these animals are known as omens of bad luck or evil and associated with All Hallow's Eve.

Bats were thought to indicate the presence of spirits or ghosts. The infamous vampire bat, is the only mammal that feeds on blood. One superstition holds that if a bat flies around a house three times on Halloween, death will be coming soon.

In contrast, some Chinese cultures believe that red bats are a symbol of long life, and bat amulets are worn as lucky charms to bring happiness and ward off evil. Five red bats can also represent the "five good fortunes" of health, longevity, love, wealth and virtue.

"For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all."

~ Aristotle


2. Pumpkins (Jack-O-Lanterns)

Light in the Darkness, Roaming Spirits of The Dead

Scary faced carved pumpkins lighting up dark autumn nights are one sure sign that Halloween is near.

Folklore says that the candles placed inside the pumpkin were thought to bring a shining light into the darkness and the pumpkins orange color; an action color, symbolized positive change for the season ahead.

Jack-O-Lantern literally means "Jack of the Lantern"; because an old Irish legend tells of a cursed man named Jack; when Jack died he was not allowed to enter heaven or hell, so he wandered aimlessly with only a candle lit in a hollowed out turnip to guide him. To keep Jack's restless spirit from entering their homes, local villagers would carve scary faces into the turnips and place them in their windows at night to frighten him away. When the Irish immigrants came to the United States they began to use the more commonly available pumpkins rather then turnips, and the practice continues every October to this day.

"May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright

Of soft and golden hue

Pierce through the future's veil and show

What fate now holds for you."

~ Author Unknown

Solar Pumpkin Light

Medium Scrollwork Solar Pumpkin
Medium Scrollwork Solar Pumpkin

Four Seasons, Translucent Pumpkin Solar Light, Running Time Up To 8 Hours On Full Battery. Built In Light Sensor That Will Turn Light On and Glow Automatically At Nighttime.


3. Witches

Supernatural Beings

Witches are often thought to have the supernatural powers needed to use rituals, potions and spells to connect and manipulate the energy of the spirit realm.

It was once said that the only way to meet a real witch, you had to put your clothes on the wrong side out and walk backwards at midnight, on Halloween night.

Legends tell of witches gathering twice a year when the seasons changed, on April 30 - the eve of May Day and on the eve of October 31 - All Hallows Eve. According to old wives tales, the witches would arrive on broomsticks, to celebrate with the devil, transform themselves into other beings and cast evil spells on unsuspecting people.

The Witches Caldron

"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,

Wool of bat, and tongue of dog

Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,

Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and babble

Double, double, toil and trouble,

Fire burn, and caldron bubble"

~ William Shakespeare

Halloween Witch Crash!

Witch Splat Tree Wrap
Witch Splat Tree Wrap

Uh-oh...this wicked witch wasn't looking where she was flying and ended up smashed against your tree! Crashing Witch Halloween Decoration is 3 feet high. Wonderfully detailed with purple hair, bright green hands, and straw-look broom.


4. Gravestones

Visitors from Beyond The Grave

Gravestones are where the world of the living can meet the world of the dead.

Halloween, like the Mexican Day of the Dead, celebrates visitors from the spirit world.

Early grave markers, or gravestones, were actually heavy rocks and boulders that were placed on graves, because it was believed they were needed to keep the dead from rising from their graves.

In Europe and in Old New England, carvings on gravestone markers were mostly images of pain, torment and eternal damnation, this was thought to frighten the living into maintaining a life of virtue. Images were usually variations of skeletons, angels of death and dark winged skulls.

"At first cock-crow the ghosts must go

Back to their quiet graves below."

~ Theodosia Garrison

Gravestone Lawn Decoration


This Halloween turn your lawn into a haunted graveyard with fun and spooky foam tombstones!


5. Black Cats


Black cats have long been believed to be a symbol of the supernatural.

Egyptians considered cats sacred and symbolic of their goddess Bast, protectress of the Pharaoh and of women. Bast was seen as a cat or a cat-headed woman, she was considered the divine Mother of all cats. The Roman goddess linked to Bast, was Diana. In the Middle Ages, Diana was thought to be the "Queen of Witches" and thus, cats were thought to be related to witchcraft and considered a common pet and familiar of the witch.

Since the witch hunts of the middle ages, when cats were connected to evil and witchcraft, the black cat is often associated with misfortune and bad omens. It is considered particularly bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. Ironically, a black cat walking towards you is considered lucky, while one walking away is said to be stealing your luck.

"When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,

May luck be yours on Halloween."

~ Author Unknown

Black Cat Widow Decor

Cat-rageous the Beast Translucent Window Decorations "Double Window Design"
Cat-rageous the Beast Translucent Window Decorations "Double Window Design"

Bring your house to life with these amazing Cat Eye Window Posters which illuminate with common interior lighting! Includes one left and one right Catrageous The Beast posters with piercing eyes! Transparent window posters are easy to hang and window friendly. Works on windows as small as 24" x 36" and as large as 36" x 60". Adheres easily with removable corner stick adhesive squares which are included.


6. Skull and Crossbones

Death and Danger

The skull and crossbones were once deemed to be warnings of danger, death and disease.

The Skull is the seat of our wisdom and our power to think. It reminds us of our mortality and the impermanence of life.

In alchemy, the skull represents the receptacle used in the process of transformation. Bones also represent death, and a return to the earth. The skull and crossbones represent poison and danger to pirates; whether pictured on a bottle or emblazoned on the black flag of a ship, these two symbols evoked fear of imminent death.

"Webster was much possessed by death, and saw the skull beneath the skin."

~ T.S. Eliot

7. Owls

Wisdom or Darkness

Owls are often associated with witches, especially at Halloween.

At one time it was believed that owls would swoop down on Halloween night and eat the souls of the dying.

"The wailing owl screams solitary to the mournful moon."

~ David Mallet

Although the owl is a classic symbol of wisdom, it is feared by some cultures, which are uncomfortable with the night. Owls are connected with sorcery, silence, death and the ability to see through darkness or deception. Since it hides in darkness and fears the light it has often come to symbolize the "Prince of Darkness", Satan.

The occasional presence of the Owl in scenes of the Crucifixion is due to the Owl's most ancient attribute of wisdom, and with this meaning, it represents Christ, Who sacrificed Himself to save mankind, "To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. . ." (Luke 1:7).

What A Hoot Halloween Costume - 6-12 months

InCharacter Costumes Baby's What A Hoot Owl Costume, Brown/Multi, 6 to 12 months
InCharacter Costumes Baby's What A Hoot Owl Costume, Brown/Multi, 6 to 12 months

Have a hoot with your little baby this Halloween in the adorable design of the What A Hoot Owl Costume for Infant-Toddler! This costume includes a character hood and a plush jumpsuit with slip on booties. You won't be able to stop taking pictures when you put your baby in the plush brown jumpsuit and head covering of this ensemble. The hood has a printed owl face with outlined eyes and a small orange beak connected to the front. There is an ample sized opening, so your baby's cute face will show through. The jumpsuit showcases layers of tiered material in brown, green, blue, and white. The chest has scalloped fabric arranged to look like a puffy feather covered chest. The arms have brown, blue, and green material in a layered design. Adorable orange booties with slip resistant bottoms are also included.


"Eat, drink, and be scary. "

~ Author Unknown

Your Scary Thoughts About Halloween?

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    • profile image

      Fanny 2 years ago

      Gosh, I wish I would have had that inafomrtion earlier!

    • kopox profile image

      kopox 5 years ago

      scary Halloween.

    • kevin pachingel profile image

      kevin pachingel 5 years ago

      hmmm..that's why halloween really makes a lot of interpretations....

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I love Halloween and have seldom been scared by it since I got out of grade school and into Jr High. Then being scared just wasn't cool!


    • profile image

      Nunotmp 5 years ago

      I love halloween. I was thinking of being a zombie this year. Check out These new zombie movies

    • coletta lm profile image

      coletta lm 5 years ago

      Great lens! Pinned on my pinterest's Halloween board :)

    • profile image

      sans300 6 years ago

      Frightening indeed!

    • profile image

      LcArt23 6 years ago

      Interesting stuff :)

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 6 years ago from New York

      Love it! One of the best times of the year!

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 6 years ago

      These pictures give me the creeps - in a good way! Blessed!

    • Epic-Noob profile image

      Epic-Noob 6 years ago

      Spooky stuff. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Boo! Happy Halloween! - Kathy

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Boo! Happy Halloween! - Kathy

    • profile image

      Kitsune64 7 years ago

      Some very interesting stuff here! I'd never heard the bit about wearing your clothes inside out to meet a witch. Nice job!

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 7 years ago

      Great lens - I love all the old Halloween lore and folk tales. Nicely done!

    • profile image

      WorldVisionary 7 years ago

      Very interesting Halloween info. Thanks!

    • cbessa profile image

      cbessa 7 years ago

      Didn't know about these symbols. Thanks for the info!

    • ZablonMukuba profile image

      ZablonMukuba 7 years ago

      nice halloween lens

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 7 years ago from France

      Nice lens, I lensrolled it with my Halloween lens.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      Another great lens by you. I learn so much from reading your lenses. Squid Angel Blessings :)

    • profile image

      RollingLuggage 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens & Great information

    • profile image

      Artemus-Gordon 8 years ago

      Though the meaning of the holiday has changed so much over the years it is good to see that it is still going strong in every corner of the globe.

    • perciavalle profile image

      perciavalle 8 years ago


    • profile image

      mdpatrick 8 years ago

      Nice and long and you totally covered every angle. Good job!!!

    • profile image

      WebSpinstress 8 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD - another interesting and fun symbol filled-to-the-brim lens to add to my favorites from you! 5*'s and favorited. :-)

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 8 years ago

      Nice lens! Didn't get to read it before Halloween though. Would have been nice to share with the kids during Halloween night.

      Congratulations on LOTD. By the way, if you got time visit my lens as well. Thanks

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 8 years ago from Lancaster PA

      Love the symbology here surrounding Halloween!!

      Love each and every one!!


    • profile image

      nicolasv 8 years ago

      booooo! :)

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Congratulations on LOTD! Yay! I didn't expect to see an owl on this list, but, come to think of it, you're right. That is a common symbol of Halloween. And that explains why someone from our local arboretum had a Great Horned owl with her downtown last night (Halloween) in one of the galleries, where she educated people about that amazing bird.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 8 years ago from Minnesota

      I was almost afraid to read this lens because it sounded scary and I'm a scaredy cat - ha! But, luckily, I did and I learned lots! Congratulations on Lens of the Day!

    • Eklectik1 profile image

      Eklectik1 8 years ago

      Great lens--we love Halloween in our family!! Congrats on LOTD!

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 8 years ago

      This is a very nice lens, I love it! 5*

    • profile image

      Kapalbility 8 years ago

      Wooo. Congratulations on being Lens of the Day! Fun read!

    • profile image

      Marelisa 8 years ago

      I had no idea that jack o' lanterns were the result of an Irish tale. Goes to show what a melting pot the US is. :-) I love this lens and congratulations on getting LOTD.

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 8 years ago

      This was the perfect LOTD for Halloween this year, congrats!

    • wayfarer lm profile image

      wayfarer lm 8 years ago

      What a fun, scary lens! Perfect for Halloween!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congratulations on making LOTD! Great Halloween lens!

    • JakTraks profile image

      Jacqueline Marshall 8 years ago from Chicago area

      Your lens is a treat . . . and I'm not trying to trick you!

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 8 years ago

      I love information about the symbols of Halloween. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 8 years ago from Vermont

      Happy Halloween and congrats on LOTD! Black cats aren't bad, they've just got bad PR.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 8 years ago

      Beautifully designed article. Lensrolling to my Greatest (Carved) Pumpkin!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Happy Halloween and congrats on LOTD.

    • aidenw profile image

      aidenw 8 years ago from USA

      Halloween is my favorite holiday. It's fun to get a little spooked :) Wonderful and informative lens, I love the pictures. Congrats on LOTD and happy Halloween!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Wonderful lens! 5* and blessed. congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      sue423 8 years ago

      The turnip that was the earliest Jack O'Lantern was what we in the USA call a Rutabaga - much bigger and tougher than the purple top turnips. This explains how Jack could hollow one out, cut holes for the light to shine out, and use it to carry with a candle inside for a lantern. The walls of the turnip (Rutabaga) kept the wind from blowing out the candle -- try it yourself, it's fun! Or try carving a turnip - I still have a carving that was done 20 years ago, then allowed to dry. It was a portrait of a friend and now looks like s shrunken head (kind of like the apple-head rustic dolls).

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Many congratulations on LOTD and a great lens

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Congrats on LotD!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD - I did not know that in some cultures owls are feared.

    • EpicFarms profile image

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      Very nicely done! Congratulations on LOTD - I love all manner of tidbits and trivia, and this lens was chock full of both :o)

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 8 years ago from Chicago area

      I love a lens that is concise but fun. Well done, congrats, and happy fright night ;)

    • vanidiana24 profile image

      vanidiana24 8 years ago

      I'd prefer the owl as symbol of wisdom. Nice lens, very informative!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Nice work, congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Congratulations on Lens of the Day for this lens about Scary Symbols of Halloween!

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 8 years ago

      Congratulations on your LOTD!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      :) I knew this lens would be yours when I saw the LOTD. Well done and congratulations.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      This is good. I did not realize owls were included. Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      cliffd06 8 years ago

      This is a really great lens! The originality is there and this is a well deserved lens of the day.

      Keep up the good work :)

    • profile image

      Andromache 8 years ago

      A really great lens! Lots of interesting info. Don't you just love halloween!!!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Love this lens! congrats on LOTD!!!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Lovely images! Boo-lessed by a Squid Angel.

    • ssuthep profile image

      ssuthep 8 years ago

      Great lens. Squid Angel Blessed!

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 8 years ago

      I knew the second I seen this title that it was your's!! Fantastic job as always!!

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Congratulations! You've been SquidBoo Blasted: