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Black Cats and Halloween

Posted on 28th August 2013
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Clown Logo of Karnival Costumes your Halloween specialists for Fancy Dress and Costume AccessoriesAs we prepare ourselves for the upcoming Halloween season, and as part of our series of blog posts that take a closer look at some of the major Costume themes and background information in a little more detail, we thought it was about time we turned our attention to one of the most easily recognised symbols of the dark side, the Black Cat.  In this blog, we'll take a quick look into the history as to why it is that the black cat has been so closely associated with witchcraft and despite this, Witches and Black Cat costumes remain among the most popular of Halloween costume themes;

Black Cats and Halloween

A black cat fancy dress costume is favourite selection with both adults and children for Halloween themed parties.  Although black cat costumes are a popular choice with partygoers black cats themselves have traditionally received the wrong end of the stick when they included in any historical discussion about animal domestication.
Even today superstitions surrounding black cats remain strongly held and they continue to be associated with bad luck, witchcraft and they have a strong link to Halloween. So why is this? Why are these creatures so feared and can we establish when this suspicion of a black cat started?

In Western culture, black cats have been associated with bad luck since around the Middle Ages. Without the understanding to explain adverse occurrences and with a blinding devotion to God as an agent for good, something was required as a focus for the malevolent forces that existed.  The humble black cat was considered to be magical, psychic as well as evil and many took its very presence as indication that either more misfortune was to be heaped upon those sighting the animal, or worse that a witch was nearby. Often both the cat and its owner would be punished for the implied association with the Devil and the evil that he rained upon the earth.
Although there is less of a fervent believe structure based upon our improving understanding of the nature of the world we live in, but we still maintain this inherent mistrust of the black cat holding onto the belief that a black cat crossing your path may be a sign of bad luck to come. Yet perversely, in some cultures this is the exact opposite and it’s treated as a sign of good luck or as a portent of something about to occur.  
For example, in Ireland, a black cat crossing your path in the moonlight can signal the coming of a plague or epidemic, whilst to the Italians, a black cat on the bed of a sick person meant certain death for that person.  Other and less dramatic believes are that simply stroking a black cat can cure a sty or that dreaming about a black cat is in itself a omen of bad things to come.
Although we all seem to love clinging to our favourite superstitions and we readily pass them down generation to generation, there is actually no scientific reason why a black cat would bring its owner, or for that matter anyone seeing it cross there path either good or bad luck. The reality of it could be as simple as the genetic make-up that produces either black or dark fur could simply be an evolutionary trait allowing those animals blessed with it the ability to hunt at night with greater success.

But there is always an extra tingle of electricity in the air when a black cat is sighted as we move through October towards the magic of Halloween. And can you be sure that that is not a witch hiding behind that tree in the distance having sent her faithful friend about her bidding?
So this Halloween why not consider a black cat costume to accompany your local witch? At Karnival Costumes we’ve a selection of these in both adults and children’s sizes and they make great family costume ideas for Mothers, wearing a Witch fancy dress and Daughters wearing a black cat costume. And as a mum, only you’ll know whether the luck that living with a black cat brings is either good or just plain fantastic! And if you’re choosing a black cat outfit this Halloween, don’t forget we also stock a huge collection of Snazaroo face paints and kits so that you can complete look perfectly.
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