Why is Purple a Halloween Color?

The biggest holidays are identified by distinctive colors. Easter has pastels, the Fourth of July is all red, white, and blue, and Christmas is red and green. Likewise, Halloween is most associated with orange and black, since pumpkins and autumn leaves are orange, and black is for death and spooky unknown things. Green is a secondary color, signifying illness, weird skin tones (as in the Wicked Witch of the West) and the stem of a pumpkin. Purple is also a secondary Halloween color. Redditor liamgrey posed the question, "When did purple become a 'Halloween color'?" Participants in the discussion recall purple as a Halloween color from their childhoods, or not, but that only goes back to the 1980s and '90s, because it's reddit. The truth is that purple has always been a Halloween color; it's just more noticeable now because of the very lucrative marketing around the holiday. The better question is why.

* The color purple has long been associated with magic and mystery, possibly because it was once the rarest of all natural dye colors.

* It is considered the darkest color on the color wheel.

* Purple is often a substitute for black in art and media because it can be seen, such as when illustrating the night sky.

* Purple, orange, and green are all secondary colors, completing the color wheel.

* You can't make decorative strings of lights shine black, but purple, or even the ultraviolet of "black lights," is pretty close.

* Costumes and pranks are also associated with Mardi Gras, when the colors are purple, green, and gold.

* Purple (along with green) identifies villains in comic books and Disney movies, whereas heroes wear red, white, and blue -or pastels for Disney princesses.

On another planet, orange, purple and green might be considered primary colors, but here on earth, as secondary colors, they together connote something weird and different, which is what Halloween is all about. Besides, purple looks good!

(Image credit: Justin Mathews

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