Superstitions About Bats

Superstitions About Bats are some superstitions and folk-lore about bats from the 1900’s:

If a bat bites you, the wound will never heal.

The bat, or bawdy-bird, is the witches’ bird; and when they hover around it is the witches’ hour, when they have power over all human beings who are not shielded from their influence. A bat is therefore very generally considered a bird of evil omen, in many parts foretelling death.

Bats flying late in the evening, indicate fair weather.

Bats who squeak flying, tell of rain to-morrow.

If bats flutter and beetles fly about, there will be a fine morrow.

It is unlucky to kill a bat that flies into your room; it is a good omen if it lights for a moment on some object in the room.

If a bat flies into the kitchen and at once hangs on to the ceiling, it is lucky; but if it circles around twice before alighting, it is bad.

If, in trying to drive a bat out of the room, the creature should fly against a light or candle and put it out, it is a very bad omen.

If a bat flies into your house, look out for bedbugs.

Bats are regarded as unlucky; but the evil attending their coming into a house can be warded off, by catching them and hanging them over the door.

The name of the bat is never mentioned in India after nightfall; people who do, will lose all their property.

If a bat flies around the house three times in succession, it is a sign of bad luck.

In Scotland, if the bat, in flying rises, and then descends again east-ward, it is thought dangerous to go out of the house.

Some people think that bats fasten themselves in the hair, and that the hair would have to be clipped to remove them.

If a bat circles around your head three times, it presages a death.

The bat (a winged animal) was regarded by the Caribs as a good angel, which protected their dwellings at night; and it was accounted sacrilegious to kill one.

There existed formerly in Alsace, a curious belief that bats had the power to render the eggs of storks unfruitful.

You will die soon, if you kill a bat.

If, in the evening, you see a bat in the chimney, a misfortune is coming. (Belgium.)

In regard to the superstition that the bat is an omen of evil, a correspondent from Gloucestershire, England, writes: “A lady told me that three of her sisters had died, and that on each occasion a bat had flown into the house. But one evening a bat came in when everybody in the house was well, and there was no cause for anxiety at home or abroad. This they took for a good sign and believed the spell was broken, but that very night the cook died suddenly of heart-complaint, having gone to bed, as all believed, in her usual good health.”

It is believed in Italy, that the presence of bats will throw some people into convulsions. A physician, Antonio Vallisneri, relates a curious instance of this kind. He shut up a bat in a box in the room of the patient, who, on entering, although unaware of the presence of the bat, went into convulsions, and did not come out of them until the bat was removed.

At Polperro, Cornwall, the bat is thus addressed:

“Airy mouse, airy mouse! fly over myhead,
And you shall have a crust of bread;
And when I brew and when I bake,
You shall have a piece of my wedding cake.”

The Story of Halloween as Told in the 1900's

Hallowe’en or All Hallow Even, the name given of October 31, and the eve of All Saints’ Day (November 1)  is one of the most delightful opportunities for entertaining.  On such a night there should be nothing but laughter, jollity and mystery. It is the night best loved by sprightly little fairies, gnomes, elves, and witches, and is the night of their great anniversary.

Of all nights in the year this is the one upon which supernatural influences most prevail. The spirits of the dead wander abroad, together with witches, devils, and mischief-making elves, and in some cases the spirits of living persons have the temporary power to leave their bodies and join the ghostly crew.

Children born on this day preserve through their youth the power to converse with these airy visitants. But often the latter reveal themselves to ordinary folk, to advise or warn them. Hence it is the night of all nights for divination. Impartially weighed against the others, it is the very best time of the whole year for discovering just what sort of a husband or wife one is to be blessed withal.

Hallowe’en is a curious recrudescence of classic mythology, Druidic beliefs, and Christian superstitions. On November 1 the Romans had a feast to Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, and it was then that the stores laid up in the summer for use in the winter were opened. Hence the appropriateness of the use of nuts and apples at this time. November 1 or thereabouts was also the great autumn festival to the sun which the Druids celebrated in thanksgiving for their harvest.

November was also one of the quaternary periods when the Druids lighted their bonfires in honor of Baal. The custom was kept up in many portions of Great Britain until a” comparatively recejit period. Wales was especially tenacious of it, and the observances which marked the November fire may be held to have descended directly from the Druids. Each family used to make its own fire; and, as it was dying out, each member would throw a white stone into it, the stones being marked for future identification. Then all said their prayers and went to -fe^’d, and in the morning they tried to find all the stones again. If any stone was missing, it betokened that the owner of it would die within a year. Some superstitions are pretty and picturesque and attractive; tHis was one of the many that were cruel as well as picturesque. It would take but a slight accident to cause a fright that might be actually dangerous to a superstitious person, and it would not be hard for an enemy of such a person to cause that fright by stealing his stone from the fire.

These fires in Wales were commonly followed by feasting on nuts, apples, and parsnips, and by games.    Sometimes nuts were thrown into the fires, in the belief that they indicated prosperity to those who threw them if they burned well, and the reverse if they simply smoldered and turned black.    There were fires also in Scotland, and there, in some parts of the country at least, the ashes were carefully raked into a circle and just within this the stones were placed, one for each person present. If in the morning any of these appeared to have been disturbed, it betokened death. Sometimes it was the custom to make large torches by binding combustible material to the tops of poles and to bear them blazing about the village, lighting new ones as often as the old were burned out. Fires were also used at different times and places on All Saints’ Night, which is the eve of All Souls’ Day, and on All Souls’ Day itself, the 2nd of November.  In these cases the fires were regarded as typical of immortality, and were thought to be efficacious, as an outward and visible sign at least, for lighting souls from purgatory.

On this night the peasants in Ireland assemble with sticks and clubs, going from house to house, collecting money, bread-cake, butter, cheese, eggs, etc., for the feast, repeating verses in honor of the solemnity, demanding preparations for the festival in the name of St. Columb Kill, desiring them to lay aside the fatted calf and to bring forth the black sheep.. The good women are employed in making the griddle-cakes and candles; these last are sent from house to house in the vicinity, and are lighted up on the (Saman) next day, before which they pray, or are supposed to pray, for the departed soul of the donor. Every house abounds in the best viands it can afford; apples and nuts are devoured in abundance; the nut-shells are burned and from the ashes many strange things are foretold; cabbages are torn up by the root; hemp-seed is sown by the maidens, and they believe if they look back they will see the apparition of the man intended for their future spouse; they hang a smock before the fire, on the close of the feast, and sit up all night, concealed in a corner of the room, convinced that his apparition will come down the chimney and turn the smock; they throfr a ball of yarn out of the window, and wind it on the reel within, convinced,that if they repeat the Pater Noster backward, and look at the ball of yarn without, they will then also see his apparition:  they dip for apples in a tub of water, and endeavor to bring one up in the mouth; they suspend a cord with a cross-stick, with apples at one point, and candles lighted at the other, and endeavor to catch the apple, while it is in a circular motion, in the mouth.

If in the word Saman the Irish preserve a distinct evidence of Druidism, on the other hand in the drink called “lambs-wool” they equally confess the Roman intermixture. Lambs-wool is made by bruising roasted apples and mixing them with ale or sometimes with milk. The ” Gentleman’s Magazine” for May, 1784, says: “This is a constant ingredient at a merrymaking on Holy Eve.” Vallency makes a shrewd etymological guess when he says;. “The first day of November was dedicated to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc., and was therefore named La Mas Ubhal—that is, the day of the apple fruit,—and being pronounced ‘ lamasool,’ the English have corrupted the name to ‘ lambs-wool’.  The “angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc,” was obviously a reminiscence of Pomona.

Everybody is familiar with Burns’s famous poem “Hallowe’en,” which gives a panoramic insight into the customs of Old Scotia on this night of mirth and mystery. Perhaps no influence has done more than this to preserve and spread these observances among English-speaking folk.

But what was once a ceremony of belief has now become a thing of sport, of welcome sport in a day of such serious thought and work and sense of responsibility that any excuse for sport should be laid hold of; so that now its observances are all a jest which young people lay upon themselves, not in the least believing in the consequences, only half hoping there may be something in it, and saying to themselves that stranger things have happened.

Hallowe’en has become so popular among the schools and colleges that each in turn tries to outdo the other, and the night is given over to the pranks of the students, and the sounds of revelry are heard issuing from residence hall, chapter-house, and around the grounds of the school or college.

Halloween Decoration Ideas for The Home (1900's)

werner-pic2bIf the place where the festivities are held is in the country, the lawn in front of house should be decorated with hanging lighted jack-o’-lanterns. The eyes, nose, mouth in each one should be different and as grotesque as possible. If there is a fence around the grounds, put a jack-o’-lantern on each post. Drape black above entrance to house; and, at center, over door, skull and cross-bones.

Entrance to house:

On Hallowe’en put a sign up telling guests to knock low and slow.


The hall should be in total darkness except for light coming from jack-o’-lanterns of all shapes and sizes on tables, and hanging from doors and ceiling, or from frame in open fire-place. The hall should be draped in black; and the person who opens the door, and those who conduct guests to dressing-rooms, should all be gowned in black.


Decorate parlors with jack-o’-lanterns made from apples, cucumbers, squashes, pumpkins, etc., hanging them somewhere in room or place on stand, piano or mantle. Use also green branches, autumn leaves, apples, tomatoes, ears of corn—red and white—and drape room with red and yellow scrim and cheese-cloth. If possible, have an open fire in parlor—a grate fire will do. Have white portieres.

Place of mysteries :

The best for mystic rites is the barn; second best is an attic full of shadows; third best is a cellar into which guests descend immediately after removing wraps; fourth best is large hall; lastly the kitchen. If affair is held in barn, build a large bonfire in front for use of guests for after-supper sports. The place where the mysteries are performed should be decorated with gruesome things — jack-o’-lanterns, skulls and cross-bones, black draperies, witches made out of cardboard and suspended from the walls, cats, bats, owls, etc. The shades and spirits should flit about.


The dining-room should have festoons of nuts, branches of oats, strings of cranberries, autumn leaves, goldenrod, odd lanterns, yellow chrysanthemums, etc. All the decorations of this room should be cheerful and suitable to the season. Charming maidens flit about serving the guests. For table center-piece use a large pumpkin with top cut off, pulp removed, and filled with water holding a large bunch of chrysanthemums or goldenrod. Bay leaves should be scattered over table and around the dishes. The menu card at each guest’s plate should be of burnt leather bearing a sketch of a witch. After all unmask, lights in dining-should be turned up and room made brilliant.

Decorating Your Home For a Halloween Party (1920's)

Fabulous Halloween Decorating Ideas from the 1920's!This is from the 1925 Dennison Bogie Book.
When your guests arrive the door should swing open apparently unaided and the hall should be entirely dark except for a few very faint green lights that may be followed to the dressing rooms.

If your guests are not in costume, the hostess, dressed as a witch, should give each one a hat, a necktie or some other dress accessory to wear.  Two should be alike, or they may be numbered in duplicate and later matched for the first dance or game.

Decorate the living rooms with vivid orange and black.  The doorway, windows, chandelier and fireplace can all be effectively “dressed up”.The doorway shown will give any timid guest a thrill as she tries to enter the room without encountering the dangling spider.

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To copy it, fasten natural branches above the door frame and suspend orange, yellow and black crepe paper moss from them, allowing it to hang very irregularly.  Make the spider of black crepe paper and wire and suspend it by fine elastic.  The web is made of string or crepe paper rope.  Attach strips of Crepe Paper Border H 6 to the sides of the door frame and place Cut-outs H 70 and H 71 (cat and owl)above the branches.

Pumpkin Cut-outs H 96, H 105 and H 73 attached to varying lengths of No. 2 Orange Streamers, may be quickly pinned in place right over the regular draperies at the windows.

The chandelier sheds a weird glow over the whole room through the long orange crepe paper fringe that surrounds it.  Strips of Border H8 radiate from the ceiling to the edge of the shade.  The border around the top of the shade is H7.  Heavy wires or light flag sticks are placed across the top of the shade and No. 3 Orange Streamers are looped irregularly on them.

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You can usually find many Vintage Dennison Halloween decorations on Ebay like those here:

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The above is from the 1925 Dennison’s Bogie Book (13th edition) – get your own digital edition HERE.
1925 Dennison's Bogie Book


Now over to you!

Do you have a favorite vintage Halloween decoration?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

1923 Dennison's Bogie Book for Halloween, 11th edition (digital download)

1923 Dennison's Bogie Book :

© Copyright 2009 B. Sawickie & Vintage Info Publishing
1923 Dennison’s Bogie Book

11th Annual edition, 34 pagesOriginal Copies of this Bogie Book sell for $160 and more!

Suggestions for:

  • Halloween Party Decoration
  • Party Invitations
  • Costumes
  • Table Decorations
  • Thanksgiving Decoration Ideas

Also useful in dating your Vintage Dennison Halloween Collectibles.

.PDF download[purchase_link id=”2167″ style=”button” color=”blue” text=”Digital Download .PDF File”]

Sample Pages:

Bogie Book Page 1Bogie Book Page2

Vintage Halloween Favors – 7 Favors to Make (1920's)

7 Halloween Favors To Make

Note: all of these favors were made using Dennison Manufacturing supplies from the 1920’s as seen in Dennison’s Bogie Book from 1925.  Modern day substitutes can be found.

All of the Halloween Party Favors and novelties illustrated here can be easily and inexpensively fashioned with the help of the stock goods that are described on pages 30 and 31.  In many cases they are combined with inexpensive toys or packaged candy.

Cat Balloon Favor (no.1)

Cut out the mouth of an H 98 Cut-out and draw a rubber balloon through the opening.  Glue another cat’s head to the back of the first one with the wooden mouthpiece between them.

Ghostly Prize Favor (no. 2)

Make a ball of white crepe paper for the head, fastening it with wire to the top of a paper bag filled with popcorn or candy.  Wrap this wire with white crepe paper before fastening it in place and make it long enough to form arms.  Tie a piece of white crepe paper around the neck, for the skirt, and add a circular piece for the cape.  Draw the ghostly features with India ink.

Witch Pencil Favor (no. 3)

Cut a piece of No. 71 Light Brown Crepe Paper with the grain into a fine fringe.  Wrap it around the end of a brown pencil and fasten it with fine wire.  Glue two Witch Cut-outs H 37 back to back, with the “broom” between them, first cutting off the cardboard broom.

Cat Score Card (no. 4)

Paste a white correspondence card to a piece of orange mat stock a little larger than the white card. Add a circular piece of black mat stock and then a square piece of orange.  Fasten an H 683 Silhouette to the center and then make a neck-tie of a bit of white paper, lettering it as shown.

Black Cat Charm Favor (no. 5)

A loop of wire is fastened between two H 586 Silhouettes and the whole smoothly covered with black sealing wax.  A bit of Green Bronze Wax is used for the eyes.  A loop of green tinsel ribbon, long enough so that the “charm” may be worn around the neck, completes it.

Cat Bag Favor (no. 6)

Make a small bag of orange crepe paper with drawstrings at the top and paste a Cut-out H 111 to the side.  A bag like this may be the container in which to present almost any small prize.

Witch Horn Favor (no.7)

Orange and black crepe paper cut in a fringe is attached to a small horn and a Witch Cut-out H 112 is fastened in place so that the mouthpiece of the horn comes at the peak of the hat. It will be more attractive if the horn itself is first covered with orange crepe paper.

The above is from the 1925 Dennison’s Bogie Book (13th edition) – get your own digital edition HERE.
1925 Dennison's Bogie Book

Make Unique Halloween Invitations Using Vintage Seals (1920's)


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The following is from the 1925 Dennison’s Bogie Book:

The only suggestion of formality for a Halloween party is the invitation, and even there great latitude is allowed.  To be sure, invitations of many shapes and styles may be bought ready made, but there are many ways to utilize gummed seals and cardboard cut-outs to make distinctive and original invitations.  Often the invitation is orange colored and the wording in the form of a verse.  The invitation illustrated is made of a Cut-out II 109 pasted to the side of a white card.  The verse above is appropriate for any kind of Halloween party but perhaps you will prefer to write an original jingle.

Here is another option for invitation wording:

Perhaps you think there are no witches,

Hasn’t even winced

At just the thought of spooks and things – –

Well come and be convinced

At my party on ………..

At ……… o’clock

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Planning a Fun Halloween Party (1920's)

The following is from the 1925 Dennison’s Bogie Book:pic1-c1

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Halloween, the night of October thirty-first, is the one time of all the year when an opportunity is supposed to be given for looking into the future and having one’s fate settled for the coming twelve months.

Why not invite your friens to a Hallowe’en party and join in the fun of trying some of the time-honored ways of finding out what the future holds in store?

The traditions of this eerie night never change, but there are new ways of adapting them for parties, new ways of decorating, new forms of playing the old games and tricks that will help make the Hallowe’en party really successful.

Conventionality may be set aside and all sorts of games and stunts be used to entertain your guests.

Although the opportunities for entertainment are more diversifieid and informal than for almost any other occasion, still the details of the Hallowe’en party must be carefully arranged.

Whether you are entertaining at home or at the club, be sure to ask you guests to come in costume.  It will introduce a gay color note, add to the fun and be in keepinb with the spirit of the day.

When the party is a large one, instead of all playing one game in which only two or three can take an active part, divide the company into groups of six or eight and have progressive games.  Have a different game for each group.  Allow ten or fifteen minutes for each game and then move the same as for any progressive game.

Scores should be kept and a prize awarded at the end of the evening for the highest score.  Have the score cards made in such a way that they may be worn and so be always at hand.  A bracelet score card for the girls and a score card attached to a neck scarf for the men are shown on page 7.

There is apt to be a lull after the refreshments have been served.  A few stunts at the table wil liven up the party.  The reading of the papers written for “A Calendar of Events,” described on page 21, will fill any possible dull moment with peals of laughter.

The suggestions on the following pages may be adapted for home parties or dances for either children or adults and simplified or elaborated as occassion requires.  They are planned so that the busy hostess may achieve the most delightful and unusual results with the least possible outlay of either time or money.

Robot Halloween Costume to Make (1930's)

robot1Making the robot requires a lot of work, but it is worth the effort to create a real sensation at a party, and assuredly this mechanical man will be the talk of the community.

You will have plenty of fun with the smoke-belching robot, which may be equipped with as many fun-making gadgets as you can devise.

In making the robot, the frame must, of course, be fitted to the wearer, and should be made as large as possible to permit freedom of movement.

The helmet, collar, coat with sleeves, and the legs are separate units for ease in putting on and taking off. The sleeves are made up of cardboard tubes with rubber joints. They are supported at the shoulder on a curved piece of sheet iron as shown. The wearer draws on the legs with shoes attached and adjusts them to his belt. Next he gets into the coat through the open back, which is attached by means of screw eyes in slots, a quarter turn locking each. An amusing feature will be a crank at the back, operating a holiday rattle on the inside. On the front of the coat other devices can be installed, such as radio dials, ammeters, push buttons, etc. The last could be made to sound a real buzzer, with a flashlight battery fastened to the frame of the coat inside.


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