By John Morgan
Spiders – Visit a haunted or abandoned house, open a graveyard crypt (we know, as if you haven’t visited enough of them already), or approach any suburban home on October 31st and you are sure to brush aside scores of spider webs. No mad scientist lab would be complete without showing a blatant disregard for dusting. Arachnids are now joining the ranks alongside Santa and Frosty as a favorite seasonal inflatable yard decoration. Some inflatable spider animatronics are even complete with flailing fangs! Together, let us see if we can begin untangling the spider’s web of clues to discover how spiders became associated with Halloween in the first place.
For most of the major Halloween symbols, it has been a fairly easy task to locate just where and when they entered Halloween’s orbit. We usually start by looking for associations with ancient Roman, Celtic, and Catholic customs, beliefs, and traditions. However, tracking the historical links associating spiders to Halloween proved by far the most illusive thread in understanding Halloween’s dream team of characters.
Most sources vaguely link spiders to Halloween because they live in dark, scary places. Some reference that spiders, along with cats and owls, are witch’s “familiars” – lesser demons who do the witch’s dirty work.
We have even reached out to E.B. White’s best friend, Charlotte, seeking her thoughts on the matter. All we keep getting back is a cryptic note in her web: “Halloween, some holiday.” Thanks Charlotte, you are big help! While we are all enjoying delicious BLTs (that reminds us, has anyone seen Wilbur?), we will have our top cryptologist here at Halloween for All working around the clock to break Charlotte’s encrypted message.
Until then, we can share that Spiders have long been associated with mysticism. Their web weaving is often interpreted as a simile for the progression of time, fate, and the cyclical rhythms of nature. It has also been used as a metaphor for shady financial dealings. One of the world’s most secretive and exclusive societies, “The Bohemian Club,” uses the symbol of the owl as they sacrifice “dull care” and they warn: “Weaving spiders come not here” (Shakespeare quote) – in other words, “let’s party and forget business for a while!”
Numerologists link the number 8 to life path energies. With eight legs and eight eyes, spiders must have life path energies coming out of their spinnerets. It is also a number associated with acquiring great wealth. Our research team has even listened to a numerologist on Coast to Coast AM, who advised keeping the number 8 in your wallet or purse, in an effort to encourage Benjamin and all his dead president friends to join him there – Hamilton is also welcome there for showing his strength of character and his toughness (as well as his poor life management skills) by dueling Aaron Burr.
As pest abatement specialist spider’s rank up there with bats in helping to eradicate bugs that threaten crops. Most organic farmers welcome and encourage these bug eating vacuums to take up residency in their fields. We have even put up a wooden hexagon device in our Halloween for All garden to encourage their web building, but the spiders seem more than content to ignore it in favor of their daily attempts to ensnare one of us!
You may harbor an instinctive fear of spiders. All those appendages and eyeballs are enough to put anyone’s senses on edge. Perhaps there is a built-in DNA alarm that fires off warning flares to our personal command and control centers, every time we encounter either a snake or spider. Vigilantly cautioning us to approach with extreme care – these things are dangerous! Many naturalists theorize that dogs, wolves and coyotes still spin around in an effort to scatter any spiders, tics or other potential threats before they finally commit to lying down (quick someone needs to tell Atticus Finch that before he accidentally shoots that dog who is just getting ready for a siesta…too late).
Hold everything, our cryptologist just came rushing in and handed us her findings. Oh we see, folks it appears that “Halloween, some holiday” equates to “Halloween, it is what it is.” So no matter what Halloween is to you, we want to thank you for managing to adhere to our weak web of facts and observations as we did our best untangling the spider’s web. In the end, the spider’s connection with Halloween seems as mysterious and varied as the creatures themselves.