When Did Purple Become an Official Halloween Color?
Was there a vote I missed? When did “purple” get added as a Halloween color??
Obviously, orange and black have been the mainstay Halloween colors going back to the invention of color (July 8, 1954, to be precise).
It’s easy to see why orange and black are Halloween colors: oranges, like pumpkins and fall foliage. Black like a witch's hat or a scary cat. Or Tony Todd as Candyman.
At some point between 1995 and 2010, it was somehow decided that purple is the THIRD official color of Halloween. But, WHO made that decision? And, what did they base it on? Prince? The Flying Purple People Eater?
I am not the first person to ask this question. In 2017, Scientific American asked, “How did purple become a Halloween Color?”
Scientific American (a journal of note) posits several different origins. One theory is that purple is “less scary” to very small children. Purple, according to Scientific American, is a color that evokes feelings of “fun and laughter”
From S.A: “ There are two Halloweens that are sold…The frightening, darker version meant to connect with adults and the gentler version that serves as an entry point for children to the holiday”.
I don’t know about that. Of all the things kids might get spooked by, the Cincinnati Bengal’s away-game color scheme doesn’t seem like it would top the list.
I’ve got another theory. I think the co-opting of Halloween by grown adults might be responsible. Halloween as a fun thing for grown-ups is a relatively recent phenomenon. When I was a kid, adults didn’t participate in Halloween, other than passing out candy to Trick-or-Treaters. I didn’t go to an adult Halloween party until I was 30. Even then it seemed…weird? Like we were all regressing to our childhoods.
I think when adults began REALLY getting into Halloween (circa the mid-to-late ’90s), the basic orange/black color scheme wasn’t “sophisticated enough” and purple was what enough people landed on as a “third Halloween color”. Either that or the Halloween industry just realized they could sell more decorations if they added extra color and…purple is fun and reminds us of childhood?