With Halloween only five days away, it’s only fitting that October 26 is Worldwide Howl at the Moon Night! We’re sure at one point in your life you’ve wanted to let out a giant howl at that celestial orb in the sky, so tonight is the night to release your inner wolf.
Wolves have been connected with howling at the moon for centuries. Images of wolves and moons have been traced back to the Stone Age, while Roman and Greek goddesses of the moon were also known for keeping dogs and wolves in their company. There were even some Native American cultures that believed wolves summoned the moon to rise every night.
Are wolves really howling at the moon though? Experts say this popular belief is not actually true. Wolves are nocturnal creatures, and because they travel in packs, they often howl to communicate with other members of their pack. While the way they hold their heads toward the sky makes it look as though these nighttime creatures are communicating with the moon, they do this because it helps their howls carry a further distance. The incredibly vocal wolf howl can carry up to 6 miles in wooded areas, and up to 10 miles in areas where there are no trees.
This connection between wolves and the moon helped to contribute to the popular mythical creature of the werewolf. Werewolves or “lycanthropes” are humans who have the ability to transform into a wolf or wolf-like being. In most werewolf mythology, this transformation takes place whenever there is a full moon. Werewolves usually have a bad reputation, with several people believing that lycanthropes come to be as some sort of punishment to the person whom the condition is effecting. Werewolf legends were often used to explain the grotesque acts of serial killers. More recent werewolf stories and movies link lycanthropy with puberty because of the onset of hair growth, mood swings, and aggressive impulses. Find more werewolf trivia here.
After you’ve given a proper nighttime howl tonight, you can continue your celebration by watching any of the various werewolf movies or television shows listed here!