Seven days of Halloween day two
On the first day of Halloween my true love sent to me, a vampire in a coffin. On the second day of Halloween my true love sent to me, two cats a mewing and a vampire in a coffin.
Continuing our countdown to October 31st by imitating the song the Twelve Days of Christmas we now have a little look at cats and Halloween. Missed day one? Read about vampires and Halloween here: http://museumofwitchcraftandmagic.co.uk/news/countdown-to-halloween-the-seven-days-of-halloween-day-one/
Cats and Halloween
Cats may be associated with Halloween because Halloween is sometimes known as “The Witch’s Night” and cats are often portrayed as witch’s familiars. This may date back to the early modern period (1590s) as Lisa Morton states in her book Trick or Treat A History of Halloween: “After the infamous North Berwick Witch Trials…Halloween was forever to be firmly associated with witches, cats, cauldrons, brooms and the Devil.”
Another possible reason for the association between cats and Halloween is Edgar Allen Poe’s short story the Black Cat (which was made into a film in 1934). Poe’s writings have become Halloween classics – the Black Cat was included in full in one of the earliest Halloween books as a story to be read aloud at a party.
This story about a screeching cat and a decomposing body may seem Halloweeny but Poe never referred to Halloween by name in his writings. The closest he came was in the 1847 poem Ulalume which includes a reference to, “a night in the lonesome October” and the lines:
“For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year –
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
There are modern stories of black cats going missing around Halloween and an urban myth that rescue centres won’t allow people to take home black cats in October for fear that they will be sacrificed on Halloween. Recently, the Cats Protection Society have called Halloween National Black Cat Day in an effort to get their black cats adopted.
Black cats appear on a lot of Halloween decorations and merchandising, here are some examples from our exhibition.
Tomorrow, the third day of Halloween my true love sent to me…three nuts a cracking.