Halloween Mascots: Why did Owls, Spiders, and Ravens become the spooky icons? - Hindustan Times
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Halloween Mascots: Why did Owls, Spiders, and Ravens become the spooky icons?

ByJahanvi Sharma
Oct 21, 2023 06:34 PM IST

Ever wondered how certain animals have always been associated with the spooky season? We're here to open this chest of secrets below.

Owls, Spiders and Ravens have been the Halloween Mascots for years now. These animals are depicted as being wicked or unlucky in Halloween tales and such beliefs date back centuries.

These animals are depicted as being wicked or unlucky in Halloween tales and such beliefs date back centuries.
These animals are depicted as being wicked or unlucky in Halloween tales and such beliefs date back centuries.

The tradition of Halloween goes back to the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain (SAH-win) when people would dress up and build bonfires to ward off ghosts, as per the Library of Congress.

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However, with traditions come symbols of it's celebration and here are five animals who have become the spooky icons:

Black Cats: Oldest friends of wizardry

Since the 13th century when Pope Gregory IX published a formal church document called “Vox in Rama” in 1233, Black Cats have been associated with the wizard world.

“In it, black cats were declared an incarnation of Satan,” said Layla Morgan Wilde, author of ”Black Cats Tell All: True Tales and Inspiring Images."

Later in the 15th century they came to be known as the “friends” of the witches, being their companions and helpers in black magic.

Owls: A bird of bad omen

Owls are flying creatures of the night. According to the National Wildlife Federation, in Roman Mythology, the owl was a bird of bad omen who fed on human flesh and blood.

In the Middle Ages, they were thought to be witches and when they called “wooo, wooo” it was taken as a signal that death was about to occur.

Spiders: Keeping an eye on you

Well, spiders don't really need an occasion to give some, the creepy-crawlies do they?

However, these web builders have a good and bad role as the spooky icon. While in medieval times, they were considered to be companions of the witches, another superstition associated with them is that if you spot them on Halloween, the ghost of a deceased loved one is keeping an eye on you.

Ravens: The shapeshifters

Ravens have come to attach different meanings to different mythologies through the years. Interestingly, in medieval times it was said that witches and sorcerers were able to turn into ravens and fly away.

In German folklore, they were the witch's vehicle rather than the age-old broom.

Bats: Eerie Blood Drinkers

Vampire bats, known to drink blood form the connection between these night flyers and the eve of Halloween. Out of the 14,000 species of bats in the world, only a single specimen has been recorded for Vampire Bats in the extreme southwest Texas, United States.

However, what really wrote them into the history of Halloween was the Bram Stroker novel “Dracula” which was published in 1897.

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