Bats— Traditional Halloween symbol, mainly in the United States. The connection of bats to Halloween may be as simple as the fact that bats are nocturnal creatures (see also CATS and OWLS). However, the late-nineteenth- century popularity of bats is due largely to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in which the vampire count transforms several times into a gigantic bat; this gothic tale popularized the notion of the vampire bat (which is actually found in South America) throughout Western culture.
Bats also have historical ties to WITCHES: Various parts of bats are used in witch spells and formulas, and there has even been speculation that bats may have inadvertently been part of witch sabbats throughout the centuries, since they would feast on insects drawn to the warmth of fires lit by the witches as part of their outdoor revels.
Depictions of bats, usually in the form of cut-out wall hangings, are popular Halloween decorations, and vintage pieces are sought-after COLLECTIBLES. Live bats also provide the decorations for the Halloween party in the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved