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27 Halloween Colors: What They Represent & Origins

Halloween isn’t just a visual feast of costumes and decorations; it’s also a kaleidoscope of colors that set the mood for this spine-chilling holiday. Ever wondered why certain hues are so closely associated with Halloween? In this series, we’ll delve into the origins and meanings behind 27 distinctive Halloween colors.

From the classic blacks and oranges to more obscure shades, each color contributes to the holiday’s mysterious atmosphere in its own unique way. Join us as we explore the colorful stories and symbolism that turn Halloween into the vibrant and eerie celebration that captures our imaginations every year.

1. Black

27 Halloween Colors - Black

While the earliest Halloween decorations were mostly DIY and featured colors that reflected the autumnal season, like orange and gold, black also came to represent the holiday.

That’s because in order to create a spooky, creepy atmosphere, you need darker decorations.

And wouldn’t you know it – the use of the color black for Halloween came into popularity because of the commercialization of the holiday.

The Dennison Company, a paper products manufacturer that operated from 1844 until 1990, first released Halloween decorations in 1909.

Their initial offering included “creatures from Halloween folklore, such as witches, cats, and bats…”

Soon, other companies followed suit.

Yet black is more than just what paper companies tell us should represent Halloween.

Black has long symbolized death – as early as the ancient Romans, darker colors were worn during mourning.

During the Georgian and Victorian eras in England and the United States, black was the overwhelmingly popular choice for families who had experienced a death.

Black is also suggestive of the night – and Halloween is a predominantly night-time holiday. 

Its proper term, after all, is All Hallows’ Eve, which was thought to be the night when the veil between the living and the dead was thinnest.

2. Orange

27 Halloween Colors - Orange

Orange is the other major color associated with Halloween, and with the way the holiday falls during peak foliage time in many geographical locations, it’s not difficult to see why.

Orange is also the color of ripe pumpkins, and while the original vegetable to receive the carving treatment in the UK was the turnip, in the U.S., people preferred pumpkins.

This is because they are much larger and they’re much softer (and therefore, easier to carve).

Orange is also the color of fire. When we think of autumn, there are often bonfires around which we stay warm and enjoy merriment.

But there are also the lit candles we place inside jack-o-lanterns.

In this way, orange can symbolize the last bit of light before the long darkness – winter.

In much the same way, Halloween is the last warm hurrah before the cold season overtakes the north (and even then, sometimes, kids are wearing snowsuits under their costumes!).

3. Purple

27 Halloween Colors - Purple

Purple is the sometimes-forgotten third official color of Halloween.

It’s still dark, like black, but softer, less sharp.

In fact, this is what led advertisers and makers of all things Halloween to embrace purple as the third official color of the spooky season: it’s much more family-friendly than black.

While black is dark, with connotations of death and dying, purple has been the color of royalty for centuries, as well as representing creativity, peace, and magic.

Speaking of magic, witches – a common symbol of Halloween and what many people dress up as – have been known for their purple doors.

According to legend, some witches would feature purple doors on their homes, so they could both recognize each other and draw power from the color.

They would also dress in purple, along with their male counterparts – wizards – as the color symbolizes the mystical as well as the magical.

4. Green

27 Halloween Colors - Green

Like purple, the color green represents Halloween – but the softer, more fun, more kid-friendly side of things.

While the stem of a pumpkin is certainly green, more common surfaces that feature the color include creepy slime or ooze and zombie, witches, and Frankenstein’s monster’s skin.

Green is also a color associated with the supernatural and magic. In Medieval literature, green was symbolic of magic (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, for example).

In more contemporary times, green is associated with ghosts. 

And not just Slimer from Ghostbusters; dark green “ghost orbs” that appear in photos can indicate that negative energy is being released.

5. Red

27 Halloween Colors - Red

Red is a powerful, bold color that often shows up in the changing leaves around Halloween time and, therefore, in many autumnal decorations, like wreaths or Indian corn.

But red can also be a scary color associated with Halloween because it is the color – after all – of blood!

While the use of fake blood can be quite tame with some costumes, others can go fully scary, depicting zombie victims or other people who met violent ends.

While red is definitely a bloody color, it is also a reminder – around a time when the bridge between the living and the dead is strongest – of our human mortality.

Blood pumps through the veins of the living, after all, so it is no wonder that red can also symbolize fear of death, fear of losing what gives us all life.

6. White

27 Halloween Colors - White

White? A Halloween color?

Well, yes, it is!

On the commercial side, white is being used more and more with more “upscale” Halloween decorations – pumpkins, wreaths, etc.

But white is also the traditional color of ghosts and skulls, while sickly or scared people are described as “white as a sheet.”

White is used to offset black around Halloween time, creating a startling effect. Think Jack Skellington’s outfit, Beetlejuice’s, or Wednesday Addam’s.

White can also symbolize light or life, especially when paired with black, the darkness, or death.

Since Halloween is a time when spirits of the dead can more easily come among the living, the inclusion of white with black can symbolize this time.

7. Silver

27 Halloween Colors - Silver

Silver might seem like a bright color that has nothing to do with Halloween – but how would you describe the full moon’s light on a dark night?

Silvery, right?

Whether that moonlight energizes you or creeps you out, you have to admit that it’s a powerful color.

There is also fog, especially seen through car headlights or the light of the moon, which can be so eerie that you don’t even want to go out in it.

8. Gold

27 Halloween Colors - Gold

Gold’s color association with Halloween has more to do with the harvest and autumn than anything scary.

Still, gold makes a strong case for being a Halloween color, as the leaves turn bronze and gold around this holiday.

There is also the tradition of the harvest feasts or festivals, typically held around this time of year in the West, where the golden wheat is collected and gleaned to be stored for winter.

Finally, gold is also becoming part of a more upscale Halloween decoration tradition, typically mixing it with silver for a metallic theme.

9. Yellow

27 Halloween Colors - Yellow

Yellow, a close relative to gold, also evokes the harvest, as the wheat can alternately be described as yellow.

The fall leaves also turn yellow before they turn brown and drop, as well as many other plants that are starting to die off before the winter.

Yellow is also evocative of Halloween in many decorations, which feature a monster’s face, as the eyes, instead of being white, can be yellowish in hue (making them so much creepier!).

10. Brown

27 Halloween Colors - Brown

Brown is suggestive of Halloween in quite a few ways.

First, it’s evocative of the end of the leaf-changing season, when the foliage is dying and falling off, leaving only bare tree limbs (for the next five or six months, anyway!).

It’s also the color of werewolves’ fur, that creepy monster that starts out as a man and turns into a wolf during a full moon. 

11. Grey

27 Halloween Colors - Grey

Grey has strong associations with Halloween, like the creepy grey mists and fog that engulf buildings, bridges, and people in the night.

It is also representative of the color of tombstones – some of which are just waiting to be overturned by zombies that come alive in the night!

There is also a grey dreariness that can settle in around this time of year, a rain that won’t go away, or a pervasive cloudiness that hangs over a city or town for days.

12. Midnight Blue

27 Halloween Colors - Midnight Blue

While the darkness is sometimes described as the “blackest of night,” it’s actually more of a midnight blue.

Since Halloween relies on the darkness to achieve its spooky ends, midnight blue actually lends itself to the holiday quite a bit.

The next time you take your kids trick-or-treating and it falls dark, take a moment and appreciate the full spectrum of colors that the nighttime comprises, chief among them midnight blue.

13. Maroon

27 Halloween Colors - Maroon

Maroon is a color in the red family, and it’s actually a blend of red and purple.

This is evocative of Halloween in two ways.

First, as the leaves change colors around this holiday, they inevitably turn a shade of maroon as they lose the fiery red and orange hues.

Second, maroon is actually a more realistic blood color in some ways, especially dried blood which is darker and less bold than brilliant red.

14. Neon Green

27 Halloween Colors - Neon Green

Neon green has come to be associated with Halloween in a variety of ways.

First, with decorations and costumes, there is its use with toxic substances or potions; the neon glow really makes the beaker or test tube pop with color!

Then there is also the color’s use in exaggerating the skin tone of a monster or creeper – think, Frankenstein’s Monster or a witch, or fake spiders and snakes.

15. Neon Purple

In much the same way as neon green, neon purple has come to represent a sort of “new” Halloween.

Anywhere where regular purple can be used, the neon iteration can be substituted for a surreal, eerie, and super-exaggerated effect.

For example, the band around a witch’s hat or the collar on a black cat could be neon purple, giving them an eye-catching pop of color.

16. Glow In The Dark

27 Halloween Colors - Glow In The Dark

Glow in the dark is typically used around Halloween to create a spooky effect.

If you’ve ever seen a really good glow-in-the-dark costume, say, skeletal bones on a black sweatsuit, it looked like the skeleton was moving through the darkness.

Glow in the dark is also commonly used for decorations to create an eerie effect, whether it’s plastic ghosts, bones, spiderwebs, or window/wall decals.

17. Copper

27 Halloween Colors - Copper

Copper is another color that evokes autumn, the season during which Halloween occurs, in a variety of ways.

It suggests the changing of the leaves, as they turn from red and yellow and orange to more burnt shades like copper before finally turning brown. There’s a definite earthiness to the color.

It is also reminiscent of pumpkin spice, that perennial favorite scent and flavor during fall (so popular that Starbucks rolls out their Pumpkin Spice Lattes in late August!). 

18. Crimson

27 Halloween Colors - Crimson

Just the word crimson is evocative of a gothic past, filled with wine goblets, red lips, and – perhaps especially – blood. 

Yes, crimson is another terrific color for fake blood, whether it’s make-up or décor for your home.

It’s also reminiscent of the inside (or outside, depending on your depiction) of Dracula’s cloak, that most famous vampire whom so many kids and adults dress up as on Halloween.

19. Ivory

27 Halloween Colors - Ivory

Ivory might seem out of place on this list, but just consider the number of spooky Halloween-related objects in this color.

From bones and skulls to aged parchment, to the alabaster skin of an unwitting vampire’s victim or the gown of a zombie or ghostly bride, ivory definitely evokes the creepy and the eerie.

20. Indigo

27 Halloween Colors - Indigo

Whether it’s being used as a family-friendly alternative to the darkest black or just the preference of the person using it, indigo is an apt choice for Halloween.

This deep, dark blue shade suggests the starry sky, wizards robes, and even poison!

21. Olive Green

27 Halloween Colors - Olive Green

Olive green at Halloween is most commonly associated with zombies; their skin tone does, after all, tend to go to this putrid color after months or years of decomposition.

For that reason, olive green is also evocative of corpses (that stay dead), as well as Frankenstein’s monster’s skin tone in some cases.

Finally, olive green is the color of some witch’s brew, long simmering in a black pot over an open fire.

22. Rust

27 Halloween Colors - Rust

Rust is a color that does double duty at Halloween, suggesting the changing colors of the leaves, as well as old, creaky, dilapidated objects.

Indeed, right before the leaves start to turn brown, they may turn a shade of copper and rust as the green chlorophyll stops being produced by the trees.

And consider the creepy scenes from horror movies – a creaky swing or door, an old barn filled with aged tools and equipment.

What do they have in common? Rust. There is just something so eerie about the presence of rust on objects versus a shiny new thing.

23. Wine

27 Halloween Colors - Wine

The color of wine – a deep, dark ruby red – has strong ties to Halloween, as it is, in some cases, the color of blood.

But it’s also a sophisticated shade, reminiscent of gothic high society or Dracula in his castle, proffering wine to his unsuspecting next victims.

24. Teal

27 Halloween Colors - Teal

Teal is a newer color to be associated with Halloween, though it has been right under our noses all this time.

To start with, teal pumpkins are the symbol of food allergy awareness during the holiday.

Because there are so many kids with myriad food allergies, some can’t enjoy the candy they would get while trick-or-treating. 

The Teal Pumpkin Project posits that participating houses put out a teal pumpkin to show that their house is giving out allergy-free goodies.

So instead of candy, they’ll pass out some non-food items that all kids can enjoy, like a coloring book or a little toy.

Teal is also, in the famous words of Jennifer Lopez in the film The Wedding Planner, “the color of gangrene.”

Yes, rotting body parts can turn teal, so if you’re sporting a (fake) major wound for Halloween, you might want to mix yourself some paint with this color.

25. Gold Glitter

27 Halloween Colors - Gold Glitter

Gold glitter is a newer color to be associated with Halloween, in part because its sparkly, joyful personality seems at odds with the holiday.

Yet Halloween is not just for the creepy and spooky; it’s also to have fun and go all out with your costumes and decorations.

Add a touch of glamour to your make-up or your decorative pumpkins at Halloween, and don’t let anyone tell you how to celebrate!

26. Lime Green

27 Halloween Colors - Lime Green

Lime green can be used as slime or ooze (think Slimer from Ghostbusters) or as the main color for Halloween decorations, like a fanciful witch’s face cut-out or ghost cut-outs.

It’s definitely on the more fun and playful side of Halloween, so it’s perfect for younger kids.

27. Beige

27 Halloween Colors - Beige

Beige might seem unsuspecting, but actually, quite a few spooky items tend to come in this color.

A mummy’s wrappings, for example! Aged by the centuries, if the wrappings ever were white, they’re definitely beige after the years have gotten to them.

Then there’s old treasure maps or scrolls, or letters holding deep, dark secrets, all of which have sat dormant and untouched, except by time.

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