Just the thought of Halloween conjures up images of spooky nights crowned with a Full Moon. Witches, bats, goblins and zombies are well known to prowl in the light of a Full Moon. But how often does the Full Moon fall on Halloween? Is this the year that Halloween gets its Full Moon?
This year the Moon Phase on Halloween is actually closer to a new moon. This Halloween the moon will be Waning Crescent with an 11% visibility. Besides being on the dark side, the moon will also not be in the sky during the primetime of Trick-or-Treating. The moonset will happen late in the afternoon on the 31st, before the sunset, and will rise after 4am for all of the Continental United States. While the dark skies can make Halloween extra creepy it is also a time to be extra safe. The streets will be dark, so make sure all the little monsters are equipped with flashlights, reflectors, bright Halloween costumes and stick to brightly light the streets.
Visibility - 11%
Age - 26 days
Next New Moon - Nov 3
The Moonrise and Moonset information above is meant for general use only. The exact Moonrise and Moonset varies depending on your exact location but only by a few minutes across the entire Continental United States. Best way to use the information above is to pick the city you are closest to and know that the times maybe just a few minutes different for your location. If you would like the exact times for the Moon setting and rising in your area, or if you are outside the continental US visit The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) for more detailed information.
Halloween is a great time to view the moon but the entire month of October is one of the best months for Moon Watching. The New Moon for October 2013 in on the 5th. After the 5th the moon will start to be visible in the west just after sunset as it becomes a First Quarter Moon on October 10th. This the perfect time to see the moon with a telescope as the craters on the moon will cast longer shadows and ad more contrast to the moons surface. The Full Moon for October 2013 falls on October 18th.
The word "Halloween" derives from "All Hallows Eve", the eve of All Saints Day which happens on Nov. 1st. Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain which celebrate the end of the harvest season. It also happened to be the last day of the year for the Celts. So, the day of Samhain was believed to be a day that was in neither the year past or the year to come. Since it was in between, chaos ruled on that day. It was believed that the spirits of the dead wandered around moon light looking for bodies to inhabit. Masks and costumes were worn to confuse the spirits.
Whose spirit are you going to confuse?
So when will the moon be full on Halloween. Well it doesn't happen very often. In fact the phrase "Once in a Blue Moon" should be changed to "When the Moon is full on Halloween". Going by the modern term for Blue Moon there is a Blue Moon around every 2 or 3 years. The moon being full on Halloween happens on an average of every 18 to 19 years so it is quit a rare event happening only 4 or 5 times in a century.
The last time the moon was full on Halloween was October 31st, 2001. The next Halloween full moon will occur in 2020.