Haunting Halloween Baby Names
13+ names inspired by the spookiest holiday
In the fall, leaves change color, from green to red and gold. Alchemy was the secret medieval science which sought to transform metals into gold, or seek an elixir for eternal youth and life. Actor Lance Henriksen named his daughter Alcamy. Other names that are gold or golden include Aurelius, Aurelia, Auriel, Oriole, andOrville.
Mythological beasts can be a fantastical inspiration for baby names. Both Griffin and Phoenix flew into the top 500 most popular boys’ names, at #242 and #421 respectively in 2007 in the US. A griffon, or gryphon, is a mythical creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. A phoenix is a symbol of immortality and rebirth: a bird from Egyptian and Greek lore who perishes in flames and rises from the ashes.
Trick or Treat: Draco is the Latin word for “dragon.” It is also the name of the first lawgiver in ancient Athens and a constellation. Young Harry Potter fans will also recognize the name in villain, Draco Malfoy.
Elvira is a place name of Spanish origin meaning “white.” It is also the ancient name for the modern-day city of Granada. Cassandra Peterson played Elvira, the vampy and seductive Mistress of the Dark with a Valley Girl delivery on television and in films. Her Gothic appearance recalled the pale skin and black hair of Morticia Addams from The Addams Family.
I Love Lucy!
Lucy was the 135th most popular name for girls in the US in 2007. A diminutive of Lucia, the feminine form of Lucius, Lucy is derived from the Latin word, lux, meaning “light.” Saint Lucy is known as the patron saint of the blind. Thanks to Lucy Hayes, First Lady and wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, the name peaked in popularity in the 1880s at #44. Modern namesakes include Lucille Ball, Lucinda Williams, and Lucy Liu.
Photo Credit: Shown: BabyZone kid Nicholas
You don’t know Jack, or maybe you do! Jack is a nickname or derivation for John, which means “God is gracious.” Jack-o’-lanterns are carved pumpkins used as lanterns, associated with the harvest and Halloween. In the US, Jack and Jackson are ranked at #38 and #33. Jack has also been king of the hill in England, Wales, Australia, and Ireland.
Literary Masters of Suspense
Edgar Allen Poe immortalized “The Raven” with the lines, “once upon a midnight dreary”—we know, we know, that’s SO Raven! He also penned short horror and suspense stories such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” and the haunting poem, “Annabel Lee.” Poe would make a fetching and literary first name.
Masters of Mayhem
When the horror movie The Ring debuted in 2002, the vengeful ghost’s name Samara leaped astonishingly from #925 to #365 in two years. Samara follows in the steps of Damien, the demon-child from The Omen, and Regan, the possessed headturner from The Exorcist, which have both emerged as popular and likable names today.
The light of the silvery moon is the inpiration for many goddesses names: Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt (also known as Diana), who often bathed and hunted by moonlight, Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon, is known as Luna in Roman mythology.
More Jack O' Lanterns
Among the celebrities who have Jacks jumping around their households: Christie Brinkley, Matt Lauer, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid, Virginia Madsen, Paul Rudd, and Luke Perry. Poppy Montgomerynamed her son, Jackson.
More Practical Magic
Spellcasters are also prevalent in popular culture, like Elphaba and Galinda from the Broadway play, Wicked; Sabrina Spellman in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Samantha Stephens in Bewitched, and a trio of supernatural sisters, Prudence, Piper, and Phoebe, who are later joined by a fourth sibling, Paige, in Charmed. Don’t forget about Willow, which was the name of a popular Wiccan on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
Trick or Treat: Bewitched‘s Samantha counted many obscure and ancient names in her coven: Endora (her mother), Tabitha (her daughter), Clara (aunt), Serena (cousin), and Esmeralda (a maid played by Alice Ghostley). The series originated from a short story by Norman Mailer.
Cats are rumored to have nine lives, which didn’t help St. Gertrude, the patron saint of cats—she died in 659 AD. Cat is also a common nickname for Catherine, Catalina, and Catrina. Sanura means “kitten” in Swahili. Neko means “cat” in Japanese.
Trick or Treat: In Japanese lore, Bakeneko is the name of a monster cat, and Nekomata is a phantom cat whose tail has split or forked in two. (Check out other Japanese names here.)
In Greek mythology, Hades is the god of the underworld who ruled over the dead with Persephone, his kidnapped queen. In Egyptian mythology, Osiris is the king of the underworld and a symbol of eternal life. His son, Horus (pronounced “Horace“) is the god of the sky, a falcon with the sun and the moon as his eyes. Osiris’ nephew is the jackal-headed Anubis, who is associated with the dead and mummification.
Trick or Treat: In Norse mythology, Odin is the god of war, death, magic, poetry, and prophecy. Loki is a trickster god, known as the Wizard of Lies for his transformations, ruses, and shape-shifting. Hel was the Norse goddess of death and well, Hell.
Out of the Shadows
Many words can be plucked out of the shadows to be used as names. Zillah is a Hebrew name from the Old Testament meaning “shadow.” Variations include Zila, Zilla, and Zylla. Umbra is a word meaning “dark shadow.” Talon means “claw,” often for a bird of prey and Talan is a name of French origin meaning “sharp.”
Trick or Treat: What’s a one word-name sure to evoke nightmares? Lamia. In Greek mythology, Lamia was a cursed princess, half-woman and half-serpent, who devoured the babies of other mothers. The name was later used to classify a breed of female monsters or demons. In the role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons, the lamia were a type of magical beast or creature. Lamia is also the name of a star-eating witch in the movie, Stardust, played by Michelle Pfeiffer.
Who could forget the campy but chilling cast of characters created by Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Vincent Price? Not Tim Burton, the mastermind behind Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. So what did Burton and his partner, Helena Bonham Carter, name their children? Billy Ray and Nell. Pretty tame stuff for the director of SweeneyTodd and his favorite leading lady.
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