When I was pregnant with my daughter, due in mid-October, people told me it was a popular month for birthdays. Since fall is my favorite season, I was excited to have another reason to celebrate once temperatures fell below 80 degrees and the leaves started to change color. However, I was born in June and my brother in August, so I had no idea what a fall birthday is like from a child's perspective, especially if it's on the last day of October. Some are more superstitious than others, but everyone with an Oct. 31 due date wonders, "What does it mean if you give birth on Halloween?" Many women try to avoid a Halloween delivery because of its associations with "death, evil, and skeletons," reportedThe Guardian, but is there actually anything to be worried about?
OB-GYN Adrienne Zertuche has had plenty of women in her care with due dates on or near Halloween, and their reactions can differ. "When I tell patients that they are due on Halloween, most meet that information with a smirk. Some get excited and plan on dressing their newborn as a jack-o-lantern, while others are more superstitious and ask for tips on how to hasten or delay labor to avoid delivery on the day commemorating departed hallows," she says. So if you have negative feelings about Halloween because of your personal beliefs or superstitions, an Oct. 31 due date can be bad news. But for some women, it's an opportunity to get cute, Pinterest-worthy newborn photos.
If you're currently pregnant with the possibility of a Halloween birth, and this possibility freaks you out, Zertuche has a reassuring statistic. "In truth, less than 5 percent of women deliver on their actual due date. I remind all newly pregnant patients of this fact when their due date falls on a holiday, sibling’s birthday, or other remarkable date." And if you know in advance that you need to have a C-section, you have even more control over your child's birthday. "While it may vary based on your medical history, the date of a scheduled cesarean section is typically flexible and can be safely delayed by two to three days. Whether you want to avoid being scheduled on Halloween, or you like the thought of a pumpkin onesie, it is worthwhile asking your obstetrician if he or she can alter the scheduled surgery according to your preference," notes Zertuche.
While expectant mothers may have mixed feelings about giving birth on Halloween, it can be cool to have a birthday on the spookiest day of the year. In "What My Grandfather Taught Me About Being Born On Halloween," Molly Boyle describes her experience of sharing a Halloween birthday with her maternal grandfather. While Boyle acknowledges the difficulty of differentiating your birthday party from general Halloween festivities, she writes that "bartenders all over America are head-over-heels in solidarity with the Halloween birthday, and will quite often make any lil’ witch free drinks based on her ID alone." That may be cold comfort in childhood, but once you turn 21, you may decide that free drinks make up for overshadowed birthdays.
It's also helpful to learn about Halloween's origins, which aren't all witches and bad luck. According to The History Channel, our modern holiday started as an ancient Celtic festival to mark the end of the summer harvest season and the beginning of winter. Yes, the Celts thought the spirits of the dead could visit earth on Oct. 31, but they also believed this visitation could generate a form of luck in the ability to predict the future. The Irish also believed that Halloween could be a lucky day — women could follow certain formulas involving yarn or mirrors to learn the name of their future husband.
So what does it mean if you give birth on Halloween? Overall, a birthday on this holiday is what you make of it. If you feel superstitious and want your kid to have a separate birthday, it may be in your control to avoid a Halloween delivery. On the other hand, you may view your Halloween baby as an auspicious sign of luck.