What Is So Spooky About Halloween Weather?

January 29, 2019
Why Halloween is in October

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Why does Halloween fit so well with October? It’s just interesting to think about how much weather and daylight affect the whole nature of a celebration.

Back on the 13th of May of 609 A.D., the Catholic feast of “All Martyrs Day” was established. It was eventually moved to November 2 (probably to blend and supplant the older Celtic festival of “Samhaim”) and later renamed “All Soul’s Day” or “All-hallows.”

The night before, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween!

In the fall, the weather is growing colder and plants are dying. Back then, people had to decide which livestock they would feed all winter and which would be slaughtered. (The colder weather meant the meat would last better than it would in the heat of summer.) So, it was a cold and bloody time of year. 

A holiday amid spirits and slaughtering feels very different from the spring-like days of flowers and little lambs, doesn’t it? 

November was a rather bloody time of the year! 

Europeans countered the colder, darker times with bonfires and light in the darkness.  Late October and early November nights are much darker than those of May. Some of these practices continued into the Christian era with Day of the Dead bonfires.

To ward of those spirits of darkness, scary masks and costumes were worn. Those spooky Halloween costumes are a tradition to this day, as trick-or-treaters dress as skeletons, ghouls, zombies and the walking dead.


Finally, the colder weather brings the tradition of cakes and fattening treats, something we do not normally crave in the springtime filled with fresh new greens.  Trick-or-treating just seems to be the right kind of indulgence as we get ready for winter.

Boo! Source: Wikipedia

Celebrating this holiday in springtime wouldn’t quite feel the same, would it? Today, we defy the growing cold and darkness with food and fun!

See your 7-day weather for Halloween week here.

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to “Weather Whispers” by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these articles. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.

Reader Comments

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Halloween Weather

It is, quite literally, the dying of the year. Plants are dying, trees are shedding their leaves and we're getting ready for the last big fall harvest before the cold of the winter sets it. Some people wouldn't make it to spring, they would freeze or starve to death. It was quite normal to remember those who have passed on during this time, like dead relatives and friends (All Saints Day, All Soul's Day, Day of the Dead). Indeed, Halloween must have a completely different feel in Australia where it's their spring, just has Australia's Easter is more like our Thanksgiving (a fall harvest rather than a spring holiday).

Why would anyone want to

Why would anyone want to celebrate a "holiday" in which was taken from pagan rituals and celebrations? Christmas is also full of pagans rituals. This can be verified in the encyclopedia. As is Easter, what does a bunny have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? Try looking that up as well, it's interesting.

Actually, folklore used

Actually, folklore used believe that rabbits gave virgin birth. So bunnies became the symbol for Virgin Mary.

It was probably easier to get people to celebrate a religious holiday on a day that they were used to taking off from work and relaxing/partying. Church leaders used old religious symbols, like trees, to stand for Christian ideas.

Rabbits and eggs are pagan

Rabbits and eggs are pagan fertility symbals-Easter is named for a Saxon goddess who was known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany by the name of Ostara.-http://www.goddessgift.com/pan...'s_box/easter-history.html

Medieval superstition

Medieval superstition believed that rabbits had virgin births. (Rabbits can get "knocked up" for the next litter while still pregnant with a first litter.) This made them relate rabbits with Virgin Mary. It's an odd tie, but then so are colored eggs.

I disagree. Halloween is

I disagree. Halloween is based on the ancient rituals held on, as you say, harvest celebrations which have occurred since time immemorial at the end of autumn/start of winter. The church may have moved their saint-based holiday in order to overlay those festivals, but that does not mean that Halloween itself was EVER a spring holiday. No offense. :)

It's a great argument. The

It's a great argument. The type of celebrations that we see were never staged in spring. However, the actual name "All Hallows Eve" was the evening before All Saints Day and that named event used to be in springtime. When All Saints Day moved, the way people behaved on the evening before really changed. Whatever the season -- Happy Halloween!

I agree with Jill. All

I agree with Jill. All Hallows may have been in the spring and the church may have moved it to November 1, but the festival in October which we call Halloween comes from pagan rituals such as Samhain (a word which means November) and has always been a fall festival.

This isn't Evelyn,but it was

This isn't Evelyn,but it was 835 AD.

Thank you. Happy Halloween!

Thank you. Happy Halloween!

Evelyn, what year did the

Evelyn, what year did the change Halloween from spring/summer to October?

According to historian Ronald

According to historian Ronald Hutton, All Saints Day was moved to November 1 in 835 AD. Celts and the English celebrated the evening before and we see the first written reference to All Hallows Eve in 1556 AD.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I meant "that" in my last

I meant "that" in my last post. Please forgive me.

Interesting! I hope tthat

Interesting! I hope tthat everyone's weekend was both great and safe,plus I also hope that they have a happy Halloween!

I second the wish and hope

I second the wish and hope everyone has good enough weather to celebrate the holiday!


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