Volume 34, Issue 4, Fall 2015

Taking back Halloween

By Micaela Jemison


The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it comes that annual fall event perhaps most associated with bats: Halloween. While many among us enjoy the witches’ cackling and pumpkins on every street corner, the scary—and often inaccurate—connections made between our furry friends and the spooky holiday can dishearten even the most optimistic bat supporters. That’s why we here at BCI are determined to reclaim Halloween for bats by celebrating the actual, unique connections between the world of these fascinating flying mammals and our own.

Both the young and young at heart strongly associate Halloween with delicious fall foods and, of course, candy. It seems nearly every food staple receives the Halloween treatment at this time of year, from pumpkin-flavored coffees to candy corn cookies. But to truly get into the Halloween spirit you don’t need to add artificial flavors. Many of our favorite treats, and more than a few basic staples sitting in your kitchen pantry right now, are already connected to this celebration through their natural relationship with bats.

These foods include rice, coffee, corn, numerous fruits and nuts, not to mention that most important of ingredients for our Halloween treats: chocolate. Bats act as unseen gardeners—or more specifically, pollinators, seed dispersers and pest controllers—for these and many other different foods from around the world.

To shed light on these facts, this Halloween BCI is launching a bats and food promotion to encourage people to spread positive messages about bats, support communities involved with bat conservation and inspire the next generation of conservationists. From creating and sharing bat-inspired Halloween recipes to beefing up on some batty food facts, you’ll find numerous ways to join this effort in this issue, online and through BCI’s social media.

This is the second year that Bat Week, Oct. 25–31, will be held to coincide with Halloween. To celebrate this annual event, BCI and our partners will be promoting a world record attempt to build the most bat houses in one day on October 31. (See page 3 for more and how to get involved.)

We have also partnered with Smithsonian Libraries to create a series of bat coloring templates based on the amazing bat illustrations found in the Smithsonian’s rare book collection. We hope to inspire artists of all ages with this remarkable selection of bat faces, which show us how diverse bats truly are.

Reclaiming Halloween for bats doesn’t mean we wish to take the fright out of the ghoulish night. We see Halloween as an opportunity to show the world the amazing diversity and value of bats, and to spread the word that if we don’t take conservation action now, we could lose these fascinating creatures. Now that’s a scary thought.

 

Micaela Jemison

BCI Communication Manager

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