In Seasonal & Holiday Décor

When choosing Halloween decorations this year, sticking to traditional colors can make your home look scary-good.

Ever wonder where Halloween colors come from? Traditionally, orange and black are the main colors used in Halloween house decorations during this mystical holiday season, with purple often used as an accent color. But why?

Let’s start with the simplest one: black, the color of death. The darkest of all the colors (technically a combination of all the colors together) is clearly associated with the dark of night. It’s in the shadows, after all, where spirits reside, and spooky things take place. Plus, as light is often used to represent goodness, black, representing the absence of light, becomes a common symbol of evil – or, to make things a little more kid-friendly, “spookiness”!

Black also goes great with orange, the color of pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkins are a traditional harvest-time item, abundant in the fall, and orange fits in well with other warm fall colors, from the deep red and yellow hues of turning leaves to the rich golden shades seen in dried cornstalks and freshly cut wheat.

But did you ever wonder how pumpkins got associated with Halloween?

The concept of a jack-o’-lantern comes from a centuries-old Irish folk tale about a cheap and crafty old soul nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” Long story short, Jack made a deal with the Devil that went wrong (don’t they always?), dooming his spirit to wander the earth for eternity. In the tale, Jack used a crude lantern carved from a turnip to light his way, eventually becoming known as “Jack of the Lantern.”

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.

Purple is another common Halloween color, with less obvious origins. Some sources believe it’s included in the Halloween palette because it’s often associated with magic and witchcraft. According to legend, for instance, a purple door is sometimes used to mark the home of a witch – spooky!

Others think the introduction of purple may simply have been a marketing tactic to soften, or bring a more playful, family-friendly side to the celebration. Either way, purple and Halloween now seem permanently paired when it comes to Halloween decoration ideas.

It’s hard to go wrong when decorating for Halloween. There are so many different iconic images, from pumpkins and witches to black cats and cobwebs, just for starters. You can stick to the basic color palette or throw in other colors for highlights. Bright greens and yellows work well, and of course, the traditional warm fall colors never disappoint.

For some scary-good DIY Halloween home decorating ideas, check out the Halloween section in the Board & Brush gallery. Keep it simple. Keep it fun. And have a scary-good time in your beautiful home this Halloween.

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