Aside from witches, one of the most popular Halloween ‘fits has to be the vampire costume. You’ve seen the satin cape! You know the pointy bite! For some reason, we can’t get enough of these bat-men (er, vampires).
According to pop culture, vampires are nocturnal, immortal, and always thirsty for blood… Legends say you can (discreetly) use a pocket mirror to identify them, because they have no reflection. Also, they cast no shadows in the sun. Explanations vary, but this is probably because they are undead and “have no soul”. As the stories go, vampires possess incredible physical strength as well as hypnotizing charisma and good looks. Regular ol’ humans don’t stand a chance.
That said, why do you think we’re so attracted to them?
A Quick And Bloody History of the Vampire
So, who was the first vampire?
The first vampire to gain worldwide recognition has to be Count Dracula, a fictional character based on a real political figure from the 1400s called Vlad the Impaler. Vlad lived in Transylvania, Romania, and was known to be an effective but cruel military leader. His army successfully defended Romania's borders from the invading Ottomans, but as the name suggests, Vlad had an unusual practice: after the fighting was over, he impaled the bodies of his enemies on tall wooden stakes. Threading a human body onto a sharpened stick (like an olive on a toothpick) was extremely bloody, so Vlad gained a gruesome reputation that lasts to this day. It is believed his victims number in the tens of thousands. His home, a fortress known as Castelul Bran, is a popular tourist destination to this day (though many visitors are disappointed when they learn Vlad the Impaler was a military man, not a man-bat).
We can understand why people might say Vlad loved blood. But to suggest he bathed in it or drank it is... too much. This idea was popularized by Bram Stoker’s iconic 1897 novel Dracula. Have you ever read it? It’s a heavy beast, with over 400 pages of slow-paced reading (don’t worry, there are many Dracula movies).
So, Are Vampires Real?
In the wild, vampires (animals that feed on blood) are known as hematophages. This bloodthirsty category includes mosquitos, leeches, certain fish, and of course—vampire bats! Depending on their anatomy, some will take a bite and create suction so they can slurp it up like they have a straw, while others scratch their victim with teeth or claws before lapping up the blood. These bad boys are very real and very icky!
Uh, just in case, we’d like to state that consuming human blood is bad for your health. Don’t do it! A few cultures are known to use this as an ingredient (sometimes in sausage, or soup) but you should be cautious. Many serious illnesses spread through raw or undercooked animal parts so just know that your digestive system isn’t built for blood, and you should stick to beet smoothies if you really feel the need…
As is often the case, fictional vampires are way more fun than the real ones. Our thirst for vampire stories may have started with Dracula, but that lead character was written as a creepy, murder-happy old man with no redeeming qualities. Boring!
Modern audiences have major bloodlust and demand characters who look and act like movie stars. Feast your eyes on the glittery vegetarians of Twilight, the leather-clad tough guys of Blade, the dandy-licious boys from Interview with the Vampire, and more undead goodies from TV shows like Vampire Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Vampire Diaries. We want blood, and they are happy to supply it! Muahahahaha
The Logical Next Step: Become a Vampire Yourself
You read the books, you watched the movies, you even made it to the end of this blog post. What’s next?
To summarize, real vampires are gory and (sort of) gross, but fictional ones are awesome and mysterious. Your next move is clear! Think about your favorite vampires from pop culture and make note of the way they walk, talk, and dress. Wear more black! Wear more red! Wear more lace! Consider an everyday cape, so you can swish it dramatically when you want to make a point. Finally, come Halloween, pick up a proper vampire costume and don’t forget the vampire cane and vampire accessories. You only “live” once! Have some fun.
Well, that’s all we have for today. What did you think of this sticky, runny, bloody post? Stay safe out there and carry a small mirror, in case you meet someone too good to be human.