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Halloween jewelry captures the spirit of the holiday and allows you to showcase your festive side throughout the entire month of October. It’s a way to subtly (or sometimes not-so-subtly) celebrate Halloween without donning a full costume. Let’s take a look at how to choose Halloween jewelry and also whether celebrating Halloween is a good idea.
What Is Halloween – Exactly?
Halloween isn’t just about costumes and candy; it’s a holiday with roots in ancient myths, supernatural legends, and age-old traditions. This blend of ancient pagan customs, Christian traditions, and modern commercial influences has made Halloween a fun but also controversial holiday.
Early Celtic Origins
The origin of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Sown, which marked the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. Traditionally, Samhain took place from sunset on October 31st to sunset on November 1st.
The Celts believed that on this night, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred, and the ghosts of the deceased returned to Earth. To celebrate this day, the Celts would light large bonfires, not just to keep themselves warm on the chilly autumn night, but also to welcome the spirits traveling to earth at this time.
They would wear costumes, often resembling spirits or supernatural entities, to blend in with the wandering spirits and possibly to ward off the bad spirits. Offerings of food and drinks were left outside homes to appease these spirits, and the Celts believed that the atmosphere was perfect for divination rituals where they could predict the future.
Christianization of Samhain
With the Roman conquest of the Celtic territories, several Roman festivals were blended with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. As Christianity spread through Europe and the Roman Empire, efforts were made to assimilate or modify pagan celebrations.
The decision to superimpose Christian festivals over pagan ones was a strategic move.
It aimed to make the transition to Christianity smoother for pagan communities because it allowed them to retain their celebratory customs while redirecting the focus towards Christian beliefs. In the case of Samhain, the Church sought to replace a festival that was associated with the dead and with supernatural elements with a Christian celebration that honored saints and martyrs.
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory the Third dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica to all the saints and martyrs and picked November 1 as the date to commemorate the day. This became known as All Saints’ Day or All Hallows’ Day. The evening before All Saints’ Day, October 31, began to be celebrated as “All Hallows’ Eve.” Over time, this hallowed evening became known as Halloween.
All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Day
Celebrations for All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Day resembled the Celtic commemorations of Samhain. According to History.com, “Poor people would visit the houses of wealthier families and receive pastries called soul cakes in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls of the homeowners’ dead relatives. Known as “souling,” the practice was later taken up by children, who would go from door to door asking for gifts such as food, money and ale.”
In Scotland and Ireland, young people would take part in the ancient custom known as guising, where they would wear festive attire and gather gifts from different homes. Instead of promising prayers for the departed, they’d sing a song, recite poetry, tell a joke, or showcase some playful “trick” before they received their reward, which was usually fruits, nuts, or shiny coins.
These practices traveled to America where the holiday took a life of its own. Today, Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the U S and over 3.1 billion dollars is spent on candy every Halloween!
Halloween Jewelry Ideas
There are so many ideas out there when it comes to Halloween jewelry, regardless of your personal style. You can choose to go all out or have an understated touch with your Halloween jewelry.
In terms of colors, traditional Halloween colors are black, orange, purple, green, and silver. Think blackened metals, orange beads or gemstones, and even luminous materials that glow in the dark. These would be great to add that touch of atmosphere to your look.
Here are some of our favorite ideas.
Originating from the Irish legend of “Stingy Jack,” carved pumpkins with illuminated interiors have become emblematic of Halloween. They represent the eerie light that bridges the living and spirit worlds. Think Jack-o-Lantern earrings or pendants for the best effect.
Bats have long been associated with the night and the mysterious. Their nocturnal nature links them to the unseen world and, in some cultures, to the undead, such as vampires. They’re a great addition in any form for Halloween jewelry.
What’s Halloween without a few ghosts? Halloween revolves around the idea of the veil between the living and the dead being thinnest on this day. Cute ghost earrings or charms can add that touch of spookiness without being too distracting.
4. Black Cats
In some cultures, black cats were seen as bad luck or as the companions of witches. Their mysterious aura makes them a Halloween favorite.
5. Skulls & Skeleton
Representing death and the impermanence of life, skulls, and skeletons remind us of our mortality and the fleeting boundary between life and death. They’re a perfect Halloween symbol and ideal for funky jewelry.
6. Spiders & Spider Webs
Spiders weave intricate webs, often seen covered in morning dew or frost during the fall. They’re symbols of mystery, creativity, and the interconnectedness of life. We particularly love the idea of spider earrings, with the spider appearing to be crawling through the earhole.
Owls, with their nocturnal habits and penetrating gaze, are seen as wise and sometimes as messengers between our world and the spirit realm. They’re also night creatures, which can make them appear mysterious and a bit spooky. Perfect for Halloween!
8. Ravens and Crows
Ravens and crows are often linked to omens and the mystical. Throughout mythology, they’ve played roles in connection to death, doom, and despair. Their black plumage and croaky calls make them a symbol of the otherworldly. In reality, they’re intelligent creatures with a knack for being noisy.
9. Full or Crescent Moon
The moon has always been associated with night, magic, and mystery. Its phases, especially the full moon, have been linked to witchcraft and supernatural occurrences. But whether you believe in this or not, the moon is also exceptionally beautiful and full of positive symbolism.
10. Crystal Balls
Representing divination and the ability to see into the future or the unknown, crystal balls are often associated with witches and seers. Crystal balls aren’t just a Halloween symbol, but they’re perfect because of the themes they represent.
The perfect symbol of death and the afterlife, coffins represent the dead that are honored at Halloween.
Where To Wear Halloween Jewelry
Halloween jewelry isn’t just for October 31st; its versatile designs allow for numerous occasions to showcase spooky flair.
For the everyday enthusiast, wearing a subtle bat necklace or spider earrings can be a fun way to incorporate the Halloween spirit at the office, school, or while running errands. Halloween-themed parties, naturally, are a perfect venue, but so are gatherings like autumn festivals, haunted house visits, and pumpkin patch outings.
Even if it’s not strictly a Halloween event, any fall-related activity can be enhanced with a touch of themed jewelry. For those who may not be keen on dressing up in full costume, donning Halloween jewelry can be a less daunting yet festive alternative at costume parties.
Some Controversies of Halloween
Today, as with most things these days, Halloween has become somewhat controversial among religious groups. Some Christian groups express discomfort with Halloween due to its origins in the pagan festival of Sown. They believe that celebrating Halloween can inadvertently glorify pagan practices or the occult.
Also, the association of Halloween with witches, ghosts, demons, and other supernatural entities is problematic for some religious believers. They feel that such celebrations might trivialize or glamorize the dark and evil forces that they take seriously.
There are also other issues with Halloween that many feel don’t align with the direction the world is heading. For one thing, it’s heavily commercialized, which fuels consumerism and takes away from the traditional meaning of the holiday. There are also health concerns, as the emphasis on sweets and candy, especially in societies grappling with issues of obesity and unhealthy eating habits, isn’t helpful.
Issues about costumes have also been hitting the media every Halloween, with many being labeled as culturally insensitive. There are lists and polls with the most offensive Halloween costumes, which many believe is taking away from the fun and light-heartedness of the holiday.
It seems vested parties on both sides of the aisle want to cancel Halloween these days. Even with all the debates around Halloween, it’s clear why so many people love it. Halloween is a mix of fun history, a chance to hang out with neighbors, and a special time for kids to get creative with costumes.
As society changes, so does the way we celebrate. Remembering the good moments, the stories, and the imagination that goes into it, there’s no doubt that Halloween is a holiday worth keeping around.
And if you’re into celebrating this holiday, whether you’re looking for a playful spider ring, an elegant ghost pendant, or just some glow-in-the-dark beads to show off your Halloween spirit, there’s likely a piece of Halloween jewelry out there to match your style and mood.