13 Evil Creatures to Avoid at Halloween

With Halloween approaching, evil creatures are stalking the land looking to cause mischief and death among humankind. Use this handy guide to recognise these monsters and avoid them for a safe Halloween.

(This article was originally published at Socyberty.com on 24 October 2008.)

Halloween is a night of fun. It’s a night of dressing up in ghoulish costumes and telling scary ghost stories. But lurking beneath the surface are a host of evil creatures intent on causing mayhem and destruction. Who are these monsters and how can we avoid them?

Banshee

To hear the wail of a banshee is a very bad omen. This fairy from Celtic folklore announces the death of a member of the family that hears her inhuman cry. You may close all your windows and doors, and wrap your head in the thickest of blankets, but nothing will muffle her scream.

Don’t be fooled by her appearance. Sometimes she is old and haggard; sometimes she is young and beautiful. Some say she will foretell the deaths of a single household through the generations. Which of these stories is true? Let’s hope we never find out.

Bogeyman

The bogeyman is a wicked, shadowy figure that lurks in the dark. He is powerless during the day but moves through the night, punishing naughty children and sometimes stealing their souls.

As a shape-shifter, he is not easy to recognise and so serves as a warning to children to beware the unfamiliar. What can be done to avoid him? Just be good, or the bogeyman will get you.

Elf

Sometimes known as the little people, elves can also appear human-sized. Do not confuse the kind elves of the seelie court with the evil elves of the unseelie court. They like to play tricks and will cause diseases in cattle and humans. They can also steal human children and replace them with changelings.

Your nightmares may be caused by an elf sitting on your chest at night. To recognise a human-sized elf you need to look behind them. They may have a long tail or their back may be hollow.

Fury

Described variously as personified curses, ghosts of murder victims or the three daughters of Gaea, the furies are vengeful spirits. They ascend from the underworld to pursue and torment the guilty. You have nothing to fear if you’re innocent. You are innocent, aren’t you?

Ghost

Ghosts are a favourite topic for stories at Halloween and dark stormy nights. They are spirits of the dead who have either been victims of a violent death or have unfinished business with the living.

You may see them as a solid being or a nebulous spirit. They may be invisible, manifesting themselves by eerie sounds, peculiar smells or, in the case of poltergeists, by moving objects around the house. Avoiding graveyards or places of untimely death will make your chances of being bothered by ghosts much less.

Ghoul

Another evil creature found in graveyards is the demonic ghoul. It feasts on corpses, but when it tires of dead flesh it will lure travellers from the road and kill them.

Although it is another shape-shifter, it can be recognised because it will always have the hooves of an ass. Be sure to kill a ghoul with a single blow, as a second will make it stronger.

Goblin

A goblin is a small, grotesque spirit that lives in a grotto. At night, the sounds of breaking crockery and banging are signs you are being visited by a goblin.

Although they punish naughty children, goblins are also known to reward those that are good. Keep them friendly and happy by offering them food and milk.

Ogre

Ogres are hideous giants but can change to appear in human form. They like to feed on humans, especially children. Ogres are dangerous to tackle directly but, as they are also greedy and stupid, they can be easily tricked and killed.

Pixie

Pixies are mischievous fairies who usually dress in green and like to dance to the music of crickets and frogs in the moonlight. They also enjoy themselves by knocking on walls, blowing out candles, playing in water and frightening young women.

Leading travellers astray by confusing them is a favourite pixie trick. If you become pixie-led (or pixilated) while travelling, turn your coat back-to-front or inside-out. This will confuse the pixies and release you.

Pixies also respond to bribery. Offer them new clothes and they will disappear.

Vampire

These undead creatures feed on the blood of their victims by night. By day, vampires must return either to their grave or to a coffin filled with earth from their native land. A vampire has a pallid appearance and long incisors for biting the necks of its prey. They can also be recognised by having neither a shadow nor a reflection.

Ward off a vampire but use of a crucifix or by wearing garlic around your neck. If you are unlucky enough to be bitten you must kill your attacker or turn into a vampire yourself. A vampire can only be killed by burning, driving a stake through its heart or destroying its daytime resting place.

Werewolf

A diet of sheep or goats may sustain a werewolf but it prefers the taste of humans. This shape-shifting creature transforms from a human to a wolf by night, sometimes at will and sometimes involuntarily at a full moon.

Any wounds inflicted on the wolf will be visible after its change back to a human, so it can be found by day. Also beware the weretiger in West Africa, the werefox in Japan and China, the werejaguar in South America and other creatures of this type.

Witch

Another favourite of Halloween stories, witches generally gather in groups and gain their power from associations with demons. These demons may accompany them in the form of animals, often black cats. The ability to fly, usually with the aid of a broomstick, allows them to travel quickly.

Although old and haggard in appearance, witches are able to transform themselves into other guises. This transformation can also be performed on others. In order to defeat a witch you either have to possess stronger magic or be a cunning and virtuous hero.

Wraith

As the sound of a banshee is a portent of death, so is the sight of a wraith. Also known as a fetch or a doppelgänger, the wraith is an exact double of the person whose death it foretells. It is usually an apparition but can sometimes appear real.

Occasionally, the sight of a wraith does not mean death. Sometimes its appearance is an appeal for help and, if seen in the morning, a wraith can herald a long life.

Have a Safe Halloween

With this information at your disposal you should be able to recognise some of the evil creatures that roam the night. But remember, Halloween isn’t the only night these spirits and demons appear. With virtue and cunning you can stay safe all year round. Most importantly though, have fun and enjoy your Halloween.

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