Strange Halloween will be even stranger with rare October 31 full moon
Setting the mood for a Halloween unlike any before it will be a rare October 31 full moon.
Shining over the trick-or-treat nights that were not canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and those that were not canceled but then rescheduled as the remnants of a tropical storm deluged the area with rain Thursday into today will be a full blue moon.
A blue moon, which is the second full moon in a moon. Every Halloween full moon is a blue moon because of the 29.5-day average spacing between full moons.
The first full moon of October 2020, the Harvest Moon, shone on October 1, setting the timing for the second on the last day of the month, on Saturday, which is Halloween.
“A blue moon is a fairly infrequent phenomenon involving the appearance of an additional full moon within a given period,” according to Space.com. "But which period? It turns out there are two definitions of the term, and one was borne out of a misunderstanding of the other.
"The older meaning defines a blue moon as the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. Called a seasonal blue moon, this occurs about every 2.5 years.
“More recently, the term blue moon has been applied to the second full moon within a single calendar month. There are roughly 29.5 days between full moons, making it unusual for two full moons to fit into a 30- or 31-day-long month. This means that February will never have a Blue Moon.”
The term has nothing to do with the actual color of the moon. According to NASA, “Most blue moons look pale gray and white, indistinguishable from any other moon you’ve ever seen. Squeezing a second full moon into a calendar month doesn’t change the physical properties of the moon itself, so the color remains the same.”
The full moon, which will peak at 10:51 a.m. but will continue in its fullness right through the night, on Halloween is much rarer than the blue moon. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a full moon occurs on Halloween only every 18-19 years.
The last previous full moon on Halloween occurred in 2001, and the next will be in 2039.
This upcoming full moon is also known as the Hunter’s Moon, based on Native American traditions which marked this time of year as the period for storing game meat for the coming winter.
And it will be a mini-moon because the Moon will be at its farthest orbital point from Earth, its apogee, on Halloween.
Decades worth of horror movies would have us believe a full moon on Halloween also will have a supernatural impact on everything from werewolves to indestructible masked mass murderers.
And from the astrological perspective, “full moons in astrology are already a supercharged time in the lunar cycle,” Nina Kahn, author of the books Astrology for Life and The Joy of Hex, writes at Bustle.com
“But the upcoming lunation on October 31 is even more auspicious since it takes place on Samhain, the pagan holiday that’s also known as the ‘Witches’ New Year.' During Samhain, it’s believed that the ‘veil’ between the world of the living and the dead is thinning, meaning we have easier access to other realms, which could make practicing mystical divination arts like tarot even more powerful.”