It’s time to light the candles – it’s almost Halloween. With its long tradition of chasing away the darkness before All Saints Day, candles have always had a part to play in this spookiest of celebrations. Here are our favourite Halloween candle facts and superstitions.
Candles keep the spirits out (or not)
Mythology is a bit conflicted on this one. In the Celtic countries, a candle placed in the window would warn off the evil spirits and keep them away from your door. However in other parts of Europe, a candle in the window guides lost souls to the Summerlands. If the flame suddenly blows out, the consensus seems to be that a spirit has arrived (or there’s a draught). If the flame starts to burn a different colour (usually said to be blue), that could also be a sign that a being has crossed over from another realm…The window candle is often contained inside a scary, carved pumpkin.
Candles in Pumpkins
Those of us who grew up in the seventies and earlier will remember having a turnip or swede lantern, laboriously hacked at by our parents (those things were harder than reinforced concrete), complete with a stumpy household candle. Apparently, a solid root vegetable is more traditional than the iconic pumpkin, which was introduced by the American settlers simply because it was easier to carve. We have to admit – plastic LED tea lights are a much easier option than real flames inside a pumpkin/swede/melon. If you want a real flame, we recommend buying extra-long matches to avoid burned fingers.
Apples and candles at Halloween
Another Halloween-themed fruit is the apple, long associated with love and fertility in myths and legends. Want to know who you’ll marry? Look into a mirror on Halloween, while holding a candle in one hand and eating an apple with the other. The face of your future husband will appear in the reflection. Or the face of your actual husband, who is wondering why you’re eating an apple in a gloomy bathroom.
If you gaze at a candle at Halloween, they say you’ll be able to tell the future. To foretell the future using a candle, light a slim, white taper candle in a draught-free space (so if it goes out, there’s definitely a ghost). Ask the candle yes or no questions. If the wax runs to the right, the answer is yes, if it runs to the left, it’s a no. Both sides? The candle’s not sure.
Halloween candles for luck
Burn an orange candle all night at Halloween, and you’ll have good luck for the coming year. We’re not sure if this is orange-fruit or orange-colour; however we definitely recommend trying our Spiced Orange candle! And at the risk of nixing our luck for 2021, you should never, ever leave a candle burning unattended overnight (does an orange-scented reed diffuser count?).
How to make a safe, upcycled Halloween lantern
An empty Dexter & Mason candle jar makes a great Halloween lantern, that’s safe for kids to play with. Clean, wash and dry the glass jar (take a look at our earlier blog post for tips). Paint the jar with PVA, then smooth on flat sheets of orange tissue paper. Cut out spooky shapes from black card (this could be a simple pumpkin face, a black cat or a witch on a broomstick, depending on your crafty confidence) and stick those on top of the tissue paper. Pop an LED tea light inside, and there you go! Super-safe Halloween lantern.
The best Halloween candles from Dexter & Mason
Our glass jars aren’t designed to go inside pumpkins, but they can provide a reassuring glow of hope and comfort on this spookiest of nights. Wise women used to burn bay leaves to ward off evil, so we’d recommend our Blackberry & Bay candle, or perhaps the spiritually cleansing scent of lavender. Have a peaceful night…