As mentioned in our previous post, Halloween celebrations was a complete mystery to me up until very recently. So when faced with the task of creating Halloween nails I did my homework and researched the history of Halloween. What is this all about, why ghosts, pumpkins and how do they relate to each other?
Today I’m presenting my findings, conveniently compiled as the “Halloween Nails Guide”. This guide will clarify a few questions about Halloween’s history, its symbols, colours and hopefully will also inspire you to try some new nail designs.
What is Halloween?
Halloween takes its roots from the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain. The first mentions of the festival date back to the 10th century. It celebrated the end of harvest and the transition into the ‘darker” part of the year. The modern name, Halloween, comes from the 1500s and is a variation on “All-Hallows-Eve’ the night before All Saints Day or All Hallows Day. The Catholic Church had that holiday to coincide with the festival of Samhain to try to win the Celts over to Catholicism.
What do witches, ghosts, vampires and pumkins have to do with Samhain and Halloween?
Halloween festivities are based on magical folk beliefs concerning supernatural forces and spirits of the dead. That’s why Halloween decorations typically feature images of supernatural beings such as witches, ghosts, werewolves, and vampires. Images thought to symbolize bad omens— such as black cats, bats, and spiders, as well as elements of the autumn/harvest season, such as pumpkins and scarecrows, are also reflected in symbols of Halloween.
What are the traditional colors of Halloween and why?
The traditional colours of Halloween are black and orange. They symbolise death and autumn, and the transition between ‘light’ days and “dark” days. Later, green (monsters), purple (night, mysticism) and red (blood) were also added.
Accordingly, here are some of the best nail polishes for Halloween nails:
- Black – OPI Black Onyx, Zoya Raven, Chanel Black Satin
- Orange – Essie Oranges Meet Me at Sunset, Revlon Tropicana, OPI Atomic Orange
- Green – OPI Garagntuan Green Grape, Essie The More The Merrier, ORLY Green With Envy. More fab green nail polishes.
- Lilac – NailsInc Holland Park, Essie She’s Picture Perfect, OPI A Grape Fit
- Red – OPI Red Fortune, Essie Russian Roulette, OPI An Affair in Red Square. More great red nail polishes.
What are the main symbols of Halloween and why?
- Jack O’Lanterns: Originally, the hollowed-out turnips with candles inside them were used by the beggars to light their way from house to house to beg and pray. Then the tradition changed to carving pumpkins, and Jack O’Lanterns as we know them were born.
- Corn Husks and Stalks of Wheat: Halloween comes from the traditional harvest festival of Samhain, so these images are meant to represent the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. Corn and wheat are symbols of the change of the seasons.
- Spiders: Spiders are associated with Halloween because of they weave webs, which has long been associated with the passing of time, progress, and fate.
- Bats: Bats are nocturnal, so it’s natural that a celebration about the beginning of the dark seasons would incorporate them.
- Black Cats: Some ancient cultures believed that on Halloween night the line between the living and the dead was blurred. Also ancient Celtic religions taught that cats were reincarnated souls of human.
- Witches: It was believed that witches were the most powerful on Halloween night. Witches were feared and it was thought that witches were in league with the devil. No wonder, the image of a witch riding her broomstick across a full moon is one of the most traditional Halloween symbols.
- Ghosts: Along with the end of harvest the festival of Samhain also celebrated those had passed into the next “realm” and for that reason it is also called a “festival of the dead.” It was believed that on Halloween night the spirits of the ancestors are able to walk among the living.
- Skeleton: Skeletons represent human mortality and fear of death. Since Samhain/Halloween was also a “festival of the dead” it’s difficult to imagine a better symbols of that than skeletons.
These findings helped us to come up with an idea for our Halloween Nail Art – traditional symbols painted in traditional colours. Easy! There are so many other ways however, this Halloween Nails Guide can be used – from home decor to choosing a Halloween costume. So make sure you share this useful guide with your friends!
– Maria, xx