Spiders and Halloween seem to go hand in hand. As soon as October hits us, supermarkets and grocery stores are filled with spider-themed treats; and everywhere you go, you are surrounded by spider-related decorations?
The connection between 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 comrades of witches in medieval times.
To add to this, landmarks such as haunted houses, graveyards and dungeons were associated with Halloween, all come fully stocked with a multitude of spiders and spider webs. This is because in most cases, spiders prefer to live in dark places. In reality, however, this depends on the species.
Due to their spectacular web-making skills, spiders were considered as mystical creatures in various countries around the globe! In legends, they are depicted as storytellers and oracles of fate, wealth, and sometimes death.
Due to their connotations to the supernatural, there are plenty of superstitions around spiders. For example, my grandmother says that spiders in your house is a sign of a happy home. But, as one of our blog readers put it, he would rather burn his house than live with a spider in his home! (I fall into the latter category!).
We’ve all come across a spider in our home in one way or another, but did you know the colour of the spider can represent different things?
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 become your bunk mate, the opposite is true!
This superstition relates to the spider’s connection to witches. It was believed that if a spider fell into a candle-lit lamp and got consumed by the flame then witches were close by.
So, if you see any spiders fall into any lamps on the 31st of October expect to see a witch knocking on your door.
Not all spider superstitions are spooky. Their connotation to mysticism and wandering has led to a plenitude of positive superstitions.
For example, did you know that all spiders are believed to be omens of good luck, except of course tarantulas and black widows. Finding an arachnid in your home could mean could signify good fortune ahead, and specifically money! The larger the spider, the bigger the reward!
Because of the mystical powers spiders are claimed to have, there are a couple of superstitions around harming them.
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. If that were true, then this Jo’burg drought and heatwave it will really be more of a welcomed event rather than a hindrance!
According to some superstitions, spiders are able to cure illnesses!
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.
Do you have any more spider superstitions? Send us a tweet to @Rentokil!
Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders
One thing that has kept spiders as key symbol 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 movies
Our fear of spiders has lead to them being used as tropes, as well as the main antagonist, in many horror films since the 1950’s.
Not only have they been used to signify darkness and evil by dwelling numerous 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.
What’s your favourite terrifying spider movie? Send us a tweet to @Rentokil!