Why Halloween turns orange

the origins of orange for halloween pumpkin decorations

If there’s one colour that lets you know it’s Halloween, it has to be orange!

And no other country goes all out for Halloween than the US. Orange is everywhere. From carved pumpkins to pumpkin pie to spiced pumpkin lattes to orange frosted biscuits to party decorations.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the fancy dress costumes, ‘trick or treat’, parties and parades. They go all out.

Halloween and the colour orange

The colour orange is also associated with the harvest season, and the orange hues in nature during this time of year have been incorporated into Halloween decorations and traditions such as the carved pumpkins or ‘jack-o’-lanterns’.  

This is a great example of colour association. Taking a colour that is in abundance during that time of year and making it the go-to colour.

When it comes to the positive psychology traits, orange is a great colour to stimulate social interaction and conversation and that’s what celebrating Halloween is all about, getting together and having fun with family and friends.

the origins of orange for halloween pumpkin field
Halloween | Visiting a local pumpkin farm a few weeks back.
the origins of orange for halloween
Halloween | At the pumpkin farm. The many colours of pumpkins, gourds and squash.

How Halloween got its name

This modern-day celebration is said to have its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain which dates back to around 1st century BC, which was celebrated around the end of October marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or ‘darker half’.

People believed that during this time, the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred, and spirits could cross over into the world of the living.

To protect themselves from what they saw as malicious spirits, people would wear costumes to disguise themselves and light bonfires as they were believed to have protective and cleansing powers.

Fast forward to the 8th Century and the Catholic Church established All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows’ Day) on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd to honour saints and the deceased which just happened to coincide with Samhain, and the evening before All Hallows’ Day became known as All Hallows’ Eve, which eventually evolved into…. Halloween.

the origins of orange for halloween carved pumpkin
Halloween | Pumpkin carving with some friends a couple of years ago..

the origins of orange for halloween pumpkin trick or treat
Halloween | Children out on Halloween going from door to door ‘trick or treating’.
the origins of orange for halloween pumpkin sweet treats
Halloween | everything gets the Halloween theme treatment.
the origins of orange for halloween fancy dress
Halloween | Elaborate make-up as part of fancy dress costume.

UK taking Halloween to the US and back again

It’s suggested that Irish and Scottish immigrants brought Halloween to North America in the 19th century and by the 20th century it became more and more commercialised to what we see today.

And it seems the US are marketing Halloween back to the UK and indeed spreading their way of celebrating around the world.

the origins of orange for halloween pumpkin stream train
Halloween | On the weekend I took a trip on a steam train with its very own carved pumpkin.
the origins of orange for halloween pumpkin seeds
Halloween | At the steam train station at Tenterden, Kent, one pumpkin had clearly been over doing it on the celebrations.

Do you celebrate Halloween?  How do you celebrate Halloween?

Wishing you a colourful day!

All images my own except for images 1, 5, 6 7 via Deposit photos.

Extracts from The Little Book of Colour.

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