Superstitions Passed Down from Grandparents

Do you freeze when a black cat crosses your path? Do you avoid stepping on a crack so you won’t break your mother’s back?31 Superstitions Passed Down from Grandparents

In honor of Halloween, we offer up superstitions that we at A Place for Mom have grown up with.

Superstitions, Tricks and Treats

From carving pumpkins to dressing up in costumes, and trick-or-treating to sharing spooky stories; Halloween conjures up nostalgic memories for many of us.

The tradition of sharing Halloween stories and superstitions passes on from generation to generation. A Place for Mom honors this tradition by sharing superstitions our grandparents passed down to us:

1. Tina G., Content Marketing Manager

“My Korean grandmother told me as a child never to kill a white spider in the morning hours. If you do, you’d have back luck all day long. To this day, even though I am completely arachnophobic, I won’t kill a white spider in the a.m. Instead, I will make the effort to capture it and release it outdoors.”

2 – 3. Caitlin B., Web Copywriter and Editor

“I grew up hearing many superstitions from my abuelos.” Including:

  • Don’t put any bags or purses on the floor or you will lose a large amount of money in the near future
  • Leave a full glass of water out on a counter top or on top of the refrigerator to ward off negative energy or bad spirits at night

4. Sarah S., Freelance Writer

“My grandmother would warn my mother that celebrities always die in threes.”

5 – 7. Anita N., Director of Strategy

“My grandparents had their share of superstitions.” Including:

  • If someone sneezes once (more than once is okay) as you are leaving the house, it’s bad luck, so you have to go back in, sit down for a while, drink some water and then attempt to leave again
  • If you hear a dog crying in the middle of the night, someone just died
  • If you spill milk, break a mirror, cut your nails after dark or walk under a ladder – all bad luck

8. Gavin W., VP of Operations

“I grew up on a cattle ranch in California and my grandfather was the quintessential cowboy – he didn’t own any other type of shoes besides cowboy boots. He would always say that lots of tarantulas (yes, the big spiders!) on the ground meant that it would be a rainy winter. Unfortunately, we had drought conditions many years growing up, so every time we saw a tarantula, we obviously got very excited!”

9. Kim G., Regional Manager and Coaching

“My grandmother was Swedish and she always said that if a bird visits your window in the morning, it means death is at your door and you have to be extra careful that day. Now that is CREEPY!”

10. Caroline V., Community Relations Advisor

“My grandmother told me that if I washed my sheets between Christmas and New Year’s, whoever slept in those sheets would die.”

11. Ted E., VP of Technology

“My Sicilian grandmother used to say ‘someone put the horns on you,’ which essentially was a curse. The only way to break the curse was to wear a pair of scissors around your neck or hang garlic somewhere in the house. Most Italians opted for the garlic as you could never find a small enough pair of scissors to wear.”

12. Belinda B., Senior Living Advisor

“My grandparents and I are all from California and the one thing they said was to never hang a picture over your bed in case of an earthquake. The picture or painting will fall on your head and you will get hurt. At 52 years old, I still do not hang a picture or painting over my head by the bed.”

13 – 14. Tracey F., Director of Public Relations and Communications

“I can recall a few that my grandparents shared with me.” Including:

  • When going over railroad tracks, you should raise your feet from the floor of your car and touch one hand to the ceiling of the car – if you don’t, you’ll lose someone you love
  • If your ears are ringing, it means someone is talking about you

15. Gayle B., Senior Living Advisor

“My grandmother thought if you bought knives as a gift for someone in your family it would cut your love. My mother still firmly believes it also. Everyone in my family abides by this so we are a knife-free gift giving family!”

16 – 17. Mandy B., Payroll Analyst

“My family and extended family shared a few with me.” Including:

  • My great-grandmother believed in fortune tellers and thought she had inherited money coming to her, so she visited as many fortune tellers as she could – but sadly, never found the right fortune teller because she never inherited any money and had to work hard for her money through The Great Depression
  • My extended family was always predicting the gender of expected babies with the hanging pendant method and was almost always accurate – it predicted that I was going to be a girl, that my brother would be a boy – even though my mother had disbelief since only girls had been born her immediate family up to that point

18. Shelley S., Regional Manager

“All four of my very Irish grandparents believed firmly that a sick bed must be placed with the head facing north and the feet facing south – no exceptions!”

19. Angel R., Business Development Specialist

“My grandparent said killing a spider will make it rain. If that is true then I may be responsible for much of Seattle’s rainy weather.”

20. Sara S., Senior Living Advisor

“My [senior] mother-in-law from Wales said it was bad luck to have any pictures of birds in the house, for example, on fabric (curtains, bedspreads, etc.), you couldn’t have bird ornaments on the [Christmas] tree, no bird figurines and definitely no actual pictures containing birds hanging on the wall.”

21. Sylvia N., Senior Living Coordinator

“My grandma, ‘Wee Katie,’ from Glasgow, Scotland told me that the chill you feel down your spine is a goose walking across your future gravesite. Not sure if she meant ‘ghost’ and not ‘goose’ because Wee Katie did enjoy a dram now and then for medicinal purposes.”

22 – 24. AnnMarie M., Senior Living Advisor

“My grandparents had a handful.” Including:

  • Don’t step over someone sitting or laying on the floor because they won’t grow
  • Don’t lend anyone oil or you will have a fight
  • Itchy left hand means you’re getting money and an itchy right hand means you’re about to give away money

25. Kathy F., Senior Living Advisor

“My grandparents used to have us hold our breath when we drove by a cemetery so the spirits wouldn’t enter our bodies and take over.”

26. Jennifer K., Support Specialist

“My grandmother said if you are feeling sick in any way (flu, stomachache, headache, etc.) that it helps to prick the tip of your middle finger and squeeze the bad blood out.”

27. Tamara M., Senior Living Advisor

“Every time someone moved into a new house, my grandmother would bring them a loaf of bread so they never went hungry, a pound of salt to sprinkle around and ward off unwanted spirits, and a new broom to sweep the spirits away (a used broom had other’s unwanted spirits attached).

28 – 30 . Maggie K., Senior Living Advisor

“My mother’s Irish and Scottish grandmothers shared a few.” Including:

  • Don’t sing at the dinner table or you’ll get a crazy husband/wife
  • Eating the crust on your bread gives you curly hair
  • Never put shoes on the table or you’ll have bad luck

31. Lynette L., Senior Living Advisor

“I was told by my grandparents that you must exit and enter through the same door when visiting someone.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? What superstitions did your grandparents tell you? Please share them with us in the comments below.