Color Of Halloween

January 2, 2018 8:20 am by fcchocolatebar
Halloween color palette
Halloween it color palette
Color Of Halloween

The red, oranges and yellows that we recognize as representative of fall are the colors we find in the natural world: They’re the colors of dying leaves, the last of the ripening produce, the emptied fields, the orange-red sunsets created by shifting weather patterns, and the end of season bonfires. They are harvest colors but also colors that reflect the passing of time. They’re colors that signify a maturity, with reds and yellows indicative of ripened produce and emptied fields. 

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Oranges, yellows, browns, and reds dominate store displays for fall in the US. These colors extend into the brief commercial period occupied by Halloween where they’re also joined by black and purple. While black makes sense from a seasonal and spiritual perspective, purple feels like an odd choice. How did purple get to be a “Halloween color”?

Im home sick. Pity party…party of one. 🙋🏻 Hope your having a fabulous Monday, I’m on the mend but ugh! 😷 HALLOWICIOUS!

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I freakin love #Halloween #candy #trickortreat #Halloweencandy #sweet #instaphoto #picoftheday

Kaya, Naz and Helen Epps (2005). “Color-emotion associations: Past experience and personal preferences.” In AIC 2004 Color and Paints, Proceedings of the Interim Meeting of the International Color Association,  Porto Alegre, Brazil, 3-5 November 2004, ed. by Jose Luis Caivano. In, pp. 31-34.

Labrecque, Lauren and George Milne (2012). Exciting Red and Competent Blue: The Importance of Color in Marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 40(5), 711-727.

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In a study that asked people to indicate their emotional responses to five principle hues (red, yellow, green, blue, and purple), the positive aspect of purple was largely tied to children and laughter. With this in mind, the introduction of purple to Halloween may be tied to the evolution of the commercialism of the holiday.

Think about your favorite brand for a moment, and the colors that it employs—or the colors that are featured prominently in its logo. What do they mean to you? And how do they connect to the product? As with many broader cultural events, Halloween is far from removed from commercialism. 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. Awesome Costumes. Spooky Treats. Ghoulish Party Ideas.

Halloween in America was a subdued affair until the 19th-century. Early colonists certainly knew of Halloween but viewed the holiday as too pagan and too Catholic. The arrival of Irish immigrants in the 1800s revived Halloween activities but they were not immune to the social and economic changes that were occurring. Halloween established itself in America at a time when industrialization was changing the role of the nuclear family in American society—and with it, the permitted expressive activities assigned to children.

Modern-day Halloween is a bona-fide commercial holiday, with more than 171 million Americans planning to spend an average $82.93 on the celebration—or $8.4 billion total—according to the National Retail Federation. There’s no doubt that a chunk of that money will go towards all things black and orange: candy, costumes, decorations, you name it.

Lifestyle Devilish Black-and-Orange Cookies The History Behind Black Friday Halloween Crafts: Black Cat Pillows Black and White: The Classic Color Combo That Complements Any Item Colorful Coleslaw How to Color Your Hair at Home tradition halloween

Our fall festivities, including Halloween, draw on older traditions from throughout the northern hemisphere. Halloween is rooted in the Gaelic festival of Samhain which was observed on November 1st by the Celts. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season; but it was period of change, and during this transition the Celts believed the border between worlds was the thinnest. The very apparent shift toward longer, darker nights helps establish the relevance of black as a seasonal color, but popular culture maintains the ties to the spiritual realm. As the absence of color, black assumes a negativity which extends into the things that we do not want to necessarily associate with. It becomes frightening by what it may obscure.

Dell Clark, C. (2005). Tricks of Festival: Children, Enculturation, and American Halloween. Ethos, 33(2), 180-205. 

Modern color research can help us understand the paradox that is purple. Designers, advertisers, and others who have a need to sway emotional responses have long used color to influence emotion and feelings. For example, blue is associated with comfort and security, orange as distressing and upsetting, yellow can be cheerful, while purple is dignified. Red has both positive and negative associations: it can be active, strong, and passionate, but it can also be aggressive, bloody, and intense. Similarly green has a dual meaning. It implies quiet, relaxation and naturalness, but also fatigue, envy, and guilt.

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Orange and black are so strongly associated with Halloween that, outside of the month of October, wearing the two hues together is practically taboo. How did this high-contrast combo come to represent one of the year’s biggest holidays?

Halloween allows children to test social boundaries. In fact adults assist children in pursuing taboo behavior by helping them dress up in costume and facilitating their approach of strangers to ask for candy—on the other days of the year, children are generally encouraged to be truthful and cautious around strangers. For this one day, the established social divides between good and bad, the living and dead, and acceptable behaviors for young and old people are suspended. Characters who are normally considered “evil,” such as witches, monsters, vampires, and ghouls, are tied to signs of death and fabricated haunted experiences where good and evil and life and death meet. Adults who would otherwise keep young children from death by not taking them to funerals or not allowing them to watch movies that are violent or scary, will allow exposure to controlled themes meant to spook or frighten on Halloween. 

This may have presented an opportunity for purple’s entrance to the season. As a child-friendly color, it may have been used to soften the use of black and make the holiday and its themes palatable to a younger crowd. Is a witch wearing a purple had less frightening to one wearing a black hat? With its established connections to death, black may have been perceived by marketers as an overpowering color in relation to the younger market that is participating in Halloween. It has not been fully replaced by purple, but there are definitely two Halloweens that are sold: there is a frightening, darker version that is meant to connect with adults, and their is a gentler version that serves as an entry point for children to the holiday.

Orange is the color of another Halloween staple, the Jack-o’-lantern, but pumpkins originated in North America, and All Hallows’ Eve wasn’t celebrated here until the 1800s. (The tradition of lantern-carving began in Ireland, where vegetables like potatoes and turnips were more readily available and thus served as the first makeshift lanterns for Stingy Jack. Following the potato famine of 1846, an influx of Irish immigrants began using pumpkins instead, solidifying the tradition in American culture.) Orange was likely chosen as the dominant color of fall, when leaves exhibit shades of orange and red not typically seen in nature during the rest of the year. It’s also a tone associated with fire.

Does purple feature in your Halloween decor this year? Or in your costume? Comments have been disabled on Anthropology in Practice, but you can always join the community on Facebook.

Although the ancient precursor to Halloween began with the Celts, the people who inhabited a territory spanning parts of modern-day France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, they didn’t necessarily decorate with black and orange to mark the occasion. Roughly 2,000 years ago, the Celts’ calendar year began on November 1, coinciding with the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter. They believed their new year’s eve was a time when spirits of the departed returned and priests could make more accurate predictions about the future, according to Thus, they built bonfires and wore costumes to deter malicious ghosts.

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Subscribe Now!How did purple become a Halloween color?Orange, yellow, brown, red and black make sense. Where did purple come from?

Red, orange, yellow, and black can therefore be connected to natural, seasonal changes. Purple is not a harvest color, though it may be linked to spirituality by tracing its use in religious ceremonies. For example, purple is used in the Catholic Church during lent and at Easter in connection with fasting and the crucifixion of Christ. However, purple’s legacy is tied to its rarity in the natural world. It has long been a color associated with royalty and wealth. In ancient Rome, the triumphal robes of emperors and generals were purple or purple and gold to signify their status.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Beginning with the most obvious association, black represents death, darkness, and the longer nights that winter brings. Much like Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Celts relished the opportunity for contact with their departed ancestors. Black was a natural choice to represent the temporarily open doors of communication between the dead and the living.

As Bustle notes, black and orange were deliberately chosen as high-contrast opposites, with orange symbolizing warmth and autumn, and black representing cold and winter.

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