Spiders and Halloween seem to go hand in hand. As soon as October hits us, supermarkets and grocery stores are filled with spider-themed snacks and treats; and how many parties have you been to and found yourself surrounded by a sea of spider-related decorations?
But what exactly is the connection between Halloween and spiders?
Halloween and spiders
The main reason behind spiders being a symbol of Halloween is their connection with witches. Spiders, along with black cats and rats were believed to be evil companions of witches in medieval times.
To add to this, the iconic landmarks associated with Halloween such as haunted houses, graveyards, dungeons and creepy caves, all come fully stocked with an array of spiders and spider webs. This is because, generally, spiders prefer to dwell in dark places. In reality, however, this does depend on the species.
On top of the scary connotations of spiders, in many countries around the world spiders were regarded as mystical creatures due to their web-making abilities! In folklore, they are described as storytellers and oracles of fate, wealth, and sometimes death.
Because of their connection to the supernatural, there are countless superstitions around spiders. For example, my grandmother would always say that spiders in your house is a sign of a happy home.
Superstition #1: White spiders & black spiders
We’ve all spotted a spider in our homes in one way or another, but did you know the color of the spider can represent different things? Who knew that?
One spider superstition is that if a white spider has set up its home above your bed you will have good luck. However, if a black spider has decided to move in then you’ll be in for some misfortune.
Superstition #2: Spiders & witches
This spider superstition relates to the arachnid’s connection to witches. As spiders were believed to be evil companions of these iconic Halloween figures, it was thought that if a spider fell into a candle-lit lamp and got consumed by the flame then witches were near by.
So, if you see any spiders fall into any lamps on October 31, expect to see a witch knocking on your door.
Superstition #3: Spiders as a sign of good luck
Not all spider superstitions are bad. Their believed connection to mysticism and wandering has sprouted a handful of positive superstitions.
For example, did you know that all spiders are believed to be omens of good luck, well apart from tarantulas and black widows. Seeing a spider in your home could mean that good fortune is heading your way, and in particular money! The bigger the spider, the bigger the reward!
Superstition #4: Spiders & rain
Because of the mystical powers spiders are supposed to have, there are a few superstitions around causing them harm.
Did you know that stepping on a spider is meant to be bad luck? Well, not necessarily, more of an annoyance. Why? Well, one superstition is that stepping on a spider will result in a downpour of rain.
Superstition #5: Spiders cure fevers
Some spider superstitions are based around spiders being able to cure illnesses! I know, crazy right?
One superstition is that taking a spider with a syrup cures a fever. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t seem legitimate (I mean it is a superstition). Consulting your doctor is a far better method of curing a fever.
One thing that has kept spiders as an iconic figure of Halloween is people’s fear of them. Arachnophobia, as the name suggests, is a phobia of spiders and other arachnids such as scorpions.
However, did you know that arachnophobia is thought to be a result of evolutionary psychology? Back in our early evolution, coming into contact with venomous spiders was very common. Because of this a fear of spiders was developed as a survival instinct!
Spiders and horror films
Our fear of spiders has lead to them being used as tropes, as well as the main antagonist, in countless horror films since the 1950’s.
Not only have they been used to connote darkness and evil by inhabiting countless haunted houses, vampire lairs, and dungeons (to name a few), but they have also come in the form of giants and mutants, exploring society’s fear of atomic radiation and nuclear testing.