There’s something about the Autumn season that makes everyone feel cozy and magical…including the wildlife! In this fluffy post, we meet magical, furry and scaly animals linked to Autumn, as well as Halloween animals that can be beautiful, cute, and yet terrifying all in the same breath. Each of these Halloween animals has its own history of magic, and some are even connected to witches of the past and present. Some are regarded as witches’ familiars, while others bring their own enchanting vibes to our fall-cloaked Autumn days. Come with me!
What animals are considered Autumn animals? Any animal that makes its presence known during the Autumnal season. This includes birds and insects. Here we focus on some of our favorite fluffy and magical Autumn wildlife.
Depending on the type of owl, this bird can be either adorable OR majestic to behold. The barn owl is frequently associated with the Autumn season probably because Autumn is its dispersal season. This means when the juvenile owls leave home and go out on their own. Typically, you’ll see this happen anywhere from June to November, with August through November the bigger barn owl dispersal months. This is according to the Barn Owl Trust in the UK. And, I’m sorry, but to see a barn owl amongst fall foliage is one of the most beautiful sites you’ll ever see.
I’d venture to say the Deer as a symbol of seasons is common in Summer, Autumn, and Winter. But especially in the Fall, which is a liminal (in-between) time of the year. Why does a liminal time like Autumn appeal to the deer? Deer are known to come out at the liminal times of day like dawn and dusk. So spiritually it makes sense to me why they are frequently seen in the Autumn season. And why they represent the season in decorations, stories, and popular culture. The Deer has been a magical creature to many ancient cultures, as it has long been linked to fairies, gods, and the Otherworld. In fact, deer were once called “fairy cattle” in Ireland. Physically, deer are typically foraging more in the Fall in preparation for Winter.
Who doesn’t love a fussy, busy squirrel, especially around the Autumn Equinox or Halloween? The squirrel is one of our favorite Autumn animals because he is cute, resourceful, and basically not scared of a d*mn thing. They’ve become somewhat of a spirit symbol to those with ADHD, since, according to the Smithsonian, they misplace (forget where they put) up to 74% of the acorns they bury. But because of this, we should thank the squirrel…he keeps the Oak forests regenerating and prevents them from dying out! Since the Oak and acorn are symbols of Fall, so is the squirrel. I wonder if the squirrels actually know what they are doing…maybe they’re planting the acorns instead of burying them?
The red fox is seductive. Its presence draws us in, if we should be so lucky to see it in the wild. The first reason the red fox is an Autumn animal is because of his beautiful rusty red color. He literally matches the fallen leaves all around him. Just like many of the other woodland animals, the fox is now in foraging mode during the Fall. He is preparing for the long Winter ahead. So you just might get a glimpse of him darting into the brush or walking down a dirt path with a mouse in his jaw. And, while we don’t often link the Fox to Halloween, he does indeed have a history with witches and pagan gods. In Middle Ages Switzerland, witches were believed to have ridden large foxes to their sabbats. And in numerous cultures’ folklore, the fox is the ultimate trickster.
When I was little, I thought mice were cute. Until I lived in a hundred-year-old house and experienced them firsthand in the late Autumn months. One night, I was laying in bed when I heard two mice fighting in the kitchen. They promptly ran after one another and shot right under my bed! The truth is that the dormouse is commonly known to look for a warm, comfortable place to hibernate in the Fall. So that they aren’t stuck outside in the cold over Winter. And, while they are cute in appearance, I much prefer them to stay in the basement or in the comfy trunk of an Oak tree.
Halloween in modern times is a night of frolicking and fun. We hand out treats to our cute, costumed neighbors, and sometimes dress in costumes ourselves. We party, feast, and generally enjoy socializing and taking a break from the mundane aspects of life. Inevitably, we put away our jobs, chores, and adulthood expectations and absorb into the sweet traditions. When we get to see Halloween animals, often it is in costume or via Halloween decoration. But, either way, these creatures can be cute and sometimes downright chilling:
I don’t know if there’s another animal that’s more associated with Halloween than the cat. For millenia, the cat has been honored, deified, demonized, and beloved by various cultures and peoples all over the world. From ancient Egypt, where the cat was revered as a manifestation of the cat goddess Bastet. To the Middle Ages, when cats were thought to be the shapeshifted form of local witches out to cause mischief and malice. Today, we adorn our lawns with wooden cut-out black cats, and some of us even dress in sexy cat woman costume. I don’t believe this Halloween animal is going anywhere any time soon.
The bat might be the second most popular of the Halloween animals. Second only to the cat, of course. Why do we decorate our homes with bats? Simple. Vampires. But before we get into that, an even simpler answer would be because bats are nocturnal. In addition, we have vampire lore and Hollywood pop culture to thank. Since Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in the eighteen hundreds, folks have had a healthy fascination with the undead.
Now, if we were to travel back a few hundred years and ask our ancestors what they thought of vampires or revenants then, we’d get a different answer. And we would likely consider their very real fear of vampires UNHEALTHY. But today vampires are sparkling, sexy flying machines that often shapeshift into an explosion of bats to escape their enemies. So…bats. There you have it. Also, there are some bats that are too cute for words.
As a little girl, wolves plagued my dreams. I found them to be the pee-in-your-nightgown kind of terrifying. Then as I got older, I realized the werewolf type was alluring and sometimes severely attractive. As a modern Halloween animal, the wolf is seen howling at the Full Moon on signs, Halloween decorations, and in movies.
And if you dress as a werewolf, you’re invoking the wildness of the wolf itself. Why are werewolves linked to Halloween? We lump everything scary into the Halloween category, but if we looked at old folklore, werewolves were considered witches in shapeshifted form in the Middle Ages. There were actually Werewolf Trials in Europe in more than one country!
The crow, and his cousin the Raven, has long been a bringer of omens and symbol of death and the Underworld. Since ancient times, goddesses of death like The Morrigan and Nantosuelta were known to shapeshift and fly over the battlefields in crow form. Crows are carrion birds, which means they scavenge for food and were known to frequent a battlefield after a bloody war. Because of this, they’ve also grown to be a symbol of Halloween and the Autumn season when the earth begins its descent into the Underworld.
Snakes are another of our most popular Halloween animals and come in many forms. You might be more prone to seeing a little Draco Malfoy of Slytherin house walk up to your door than a full-fledged Medusa. Snakes are widely sold Halloween decorations, and most people think this is because they are of the “creepy-crawly” kind. But the snake itself has a long history in the occult and magical realm. It is a creature closely linked to Mother Earth, since its belly crawls on the ground its entire life. The snake also is an ancient symbol of eternal life (reincarnation), transformation (shedding one’s skin), and healing (think of the Asclepius symbol in the medical field). It is a sacred animal to witches and goddesses alike.
Halloween animals always include the creepy-crawlies…so we can’t deny the spider is ever-present in our Autumn festivities. I think the spider gets a bad rap. Sure, it feels nasty when you walk through their webs, but remember they are the ones that keep the pesty bug population down. The spider is a magical creature. Just look at the web it weaves. The spiderweb itself is a symbol of life, death, and rebirth. And it is linked to a few ancient deities including The Norns, The Fates, Anansi, and Arachne.
Whether you’re a wily Halloween witch or simply a cozy, cottagecore homemaker who loves Autumn, these Autumn Halloween animals are a great addition to your home decor, clothing, and festivities. Here’s a few ways to incorporate this animal Autumnal energy:
There’s a crisp hint of magic in the air. And a sense of warmth and …September 21, 2023