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Halloween Colors: History and Meaning Behind Orange, Black, Purple and Green

This is how Halloween might have gotten its orange color, and it’s no doubt a spooky tale to tell. Jack was cast away from heaven, but the Devil also kept his word. He didn’t come up to claim Jack in those 10 years or any other time. Jack was stuck as a ghoul, roaming the forest with nothing but a burning coal that Satan left him. Jack had to carve out a turnip big enough to hold the burning coal, making himself a lantern to help him see in the darkest hours of the night. If the Irish saw a ghostly figure with a lantern, then they knew who it was; it was Jack of the Lantern or Stingy Jack.

Later, Irish immigrants in America found pumpkins much more plentiful – and more suitable for carving – than turnips. Scary faces were added to the carvings and the present-day orange jack-o’-lantern was born. Think jones rv park about your favorite brand for a moment, and the colors that it employs—or the colors that are featured prominently in its logo. As with many broader cultural events, Halloween is far from removed from commercialism.

Next time you decorate for the spooky day, you’ll understand a bit more about its history. Red, orange and yellow are all colors of autumn seen with the changing season. However, red has also been used with the more popular Halloween colors to represent blood. The color red can accent Halloween make-up and costumes, but it has also become popular as it’s own bloody Halloween theme. All of these celebrations have roots in harvest time, a time to be happy about everything you were growing for yourself and your community. As plant-life turned to yellow-like colors, people sometimes used orange to symbolize the season.

It has come to be driven by market demands as other holidays. In this case, purple may reflect a specific targeting of a large segment of the available market. But the true symbolic significance of black had to do with death, as did the holiday. “It is believed that during Samhain the veil between worlds grows thin, making it easier for those who wish to communicate with spirits and ancestors,” says Stevens.

This rich color shows up during Halloween as black cats, the darkness of night, and evil spirits. Plus, if you’re looking to incorporate black into your Halloween look, its timeless appeal goes with pretty much anything. Long before Halloween became a day of trick-or-treating, horror movies, and a good scare, it was a festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.