Halloween is Prime Time for Spooky Spiders!
By Chris Williams on October 27, 2015.
Why did spiders become one of the scary symbols of Halloween, along with black cats and bats? Seems pretty obvious; polls would confirm that most of us are afraid of spiders, at least to some degree (see Afraid of Spiders? You’re Not Alone). Halloween is all about scaring ourselves and others and spiders have a natural creepiness.
Halloween spiders are historically seen as one of the evil companions of witches. Spiders are believed to be endowed with supernatural qualities and mystic energy. There is much symbolism associated with spiders. Their ability to weave webs is seen as symbolic of time, fate, progress and the human journey. Webs have a creepy Halloween factor too as we always seem to walk into them unseen. A spider’s eight legs (and sometimes eight eyes) fit right in with the Tarot. The number 8 turned on its side is seen as the infinity symbol, also alluding to the passage of time.
Here, We Fear No Black Widow Spiders
Spiders and superstitions go hand-in-hand. For example, it’s said that if a spider falls into a lit candle and is consumed by the flame, it means witches are nearby (seems that would always be the case). Or, if you spot a spider on Halloween, it means that the spirit of a deceased loved one is watching over you (I like that one, rather comforting).
Halloween spiders are always pictured as black and large and ominous. The closest thing we have in real life is the black widow spider which is not too ominous but is poisonous and deserves some level of fear, or at least respect. Fortunately for us in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, black widow spiders are not a concern. Experts argue about whether they even occur in our region. (see Do We Have Black Widow Spiders or Not?).
Spiders ARE More Noticeable in October!
There may be a very real reason why spiders are a part of Halloween tradition. Have you ever noticed that there seem to be more spiders around in the fall? It’s true. You’ve probably seen those large, colorful garden spiders and their huge webs near your front porch light. This is because spiders have been feeding for months and, by October, they are at their maximum size and visibility. Some spiders will then lay their eggs, enclosed in a sac, which will spend the winter and hatch in the spring. Generally the larger the spider, the greater the number of eggs produced. After egg laying, the spider will die with the first cold weather.
But lest you think you are then safe from spiders until next spring, note that they can live very happily in your home all winter!