The Rarities of Halloween 2020: Saturday and a Blue Moon
October 27, 2020
Author: Erin Cline
We don’t have to tell you that everything about 2020 has been weird. This weekend is Halloween and it seems a lot of us are trying to plan a “normal” event—one that honors health and safety, but still allows us and our kiddos to enjoy one of the most festive times of the year. It sounds like some folks are planning very controlled celebrations with small groups, but much like everything else this year, things are a bit different and we’re all just trying to adapt.
Of course Halloween would fall on a Saturday this year, when most families will be foregoing the trick-or-treat tradition. It feels like another slight by 2020 on parents, as Halloween is an occasion that usually conflicts with school days. Whether it’s catching your child as they try to sneak a Darth Vader helmet into their backpack at the last minute (when most schools no longer allow costumes), or trying to wrangle hyperactive kids to bed at a decent hour after a night of excitement and sensory overload, things can get hectic. All I’m saying is, Halloween on a Saturday only happens every five to six years and parents could’ve used this win of Halloween falling on a weekend. But 2020 had different plans for all of us, so I will drop it and move on to the next rarity you can expect this weekend.
A Blue Moon on Halloween
In another twist, the night of Halloween 2020 will feature an appropriately spooky sight: a rare second-in-the-month full moon, also known as a blue moon.
There are 29.5 days in a single moon cycle, meaning there is usually one full moon in a calendar month. But with most calendar months being 30–31 days, that half day difference in a moon cycle catches up and, every two to three years, the night sky is graced with a second full moon in the same month. This year will be the first instance of a blue moon in the American region since March 2018 and the first blue moon on Halloween since 2001. The next Halloween blue moon will not occur until 2039!
Blue Moon in folklore
While the technical meaning of a blue moon is widely understood, blue moons have been the basis of myths, legends, and superstitions across the world for centuries.
Some cultures believe it is unlucky for a girl to look at a blue moon or the girl will become pregnant and the child will be a monster. Other cultures say blue moons are lucky and you should pick flowers and berries during a blue moon to bring more abundance, love, and beauty into your life. There’s the Welsh tradition that says if a family member passes away on the night of a blue moon, three more deaths will follow. Then the old English legend claims that housewives become more fertile during a blue moon.
It’s possible that many of the blue moons mentioned in folklore refer to when the moon looks as if it is the color blue. This phenomenon does happen, but we now know that this blue hue is caused by dust or smoke particles in the atmosphere and not by the moon actually turning blue.
Once in a blue moon
And in a final rare treat for All Hallows’ Eve, this full moon will be visible in all continents for the first time since 1944, according to Farmers’ Almanac. However, not every resident of every place in the world will be able to see it—due to time zones, those in the central and eastern parts of Australia will likely not be able to see this year’s blue moon. Everywhere else, though, expect a full moon this Saturday.
Even in 2020 when nothing feels normal and everything is weird, we’re looking forward to a spooky Saturday night filled with scary movies and blue moon gazing. Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween!