Ever noticed that Halloween pictures always show a full Moon? But how often does the full Moon fall on Halloween? And is there anything special about the first full Moon after Halloween?
Of course, Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, occurs on October 31 every year; it’s only the day of the week that changes each year. The origin of Halloween can be traced to Samhain (pronounced SOW-in, which rhymes with COW-in), which was an ancient Celtic festival that was celebrated to mark the end of harvesttime. It was also the end of their year and the beginning of the new year, so it was “in between” the two years. The spirits of the dead wandered around during this time in the moonlight. See more about the origins of Halloween traditions.
Full Moon on Halloween
In 2017, the Moon will not be completely full, but it will be close! According to the Almanac Moon Phase Calendar, the Moon will be 84% illuminated. Not bad! Only a sliver will be missing, so your nights should be bright with plenty of moonlight for trick-or-treating.
The next time a completely full Moon will crest on Halloween will be in the year 2020. This is not a common occurrence and happens every 18 to 19 years.
New Moon on Halloween
For a truly spooky night, look to the new Moon phase, when darkness reigns. During this Moon phase, the lunar disk goes black, so the night appears “moonless.” Of course, the Moon is there, but it’s not lit up by the Sun due to its position in its orbit. See more about the so-called dark side of the Moon.
The Moon will be at 0% to 1% illumination in 2024 (depending on your region). See your Moon Phase Calendar—customized by zip code.
The Black Moon
An even rarer oddity is a “Black Moon.” Although this is not technically an astronomical term, “Black Moon” has come to mean the second new Moon in a calendar month. (It’s somewhat the opposite of a “Blue Moon,” which is popularly defined as the second full Moon in a month.) You can only imagine how rare a Black Moon is. The next Black Moon in North America will occur in the year 2081.
First Full Moon After Halloween
The first full Moon after Halloween is November’s Moon, which is traditionally called the Full Beaver Moon. According to the Algonquin tribes (and early colonists), this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.
If you carefully observe nature, you might notice that there are certainly patterns and traditions that happen during the first full Moon after Halloween.
- The full Moon after Halloween is thought to be a time when the deer rut (mating season) is in full force.
- Our readers share that it’s the time when snow geese arrive at Chesapeake Bay in lower Delaware and Maryland.
- For many folks, garlic is planted after the first few days of Halloween’s full Moon.
- According to folklore, it’s best to dig sweet potatoes from the ground during the full moon of November.
Ever heard of Barknight? This day was created by Dan McConnell and his family—and they even wrote a book called The Legend of Barknight.
Barknight is celebrated on the night of the first full Moon after Halloween. Dogs can howl at the Moon if they wish! On this day, acknowledge all the dogs who “work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe, and bring comfort.” Give special thanks to a dog today! Howl!!
What would you name the first full Moon after Halloween? Post your comment below!