Photograph by Sam Abell, Nat Geo Image Collection
Photograph by Sam Abell, Nat Geo Image Collection

Spook Yourself With These 5 Weird Food Superstitions 

Pay attention to what you’re eating this Halloween or you could end up penniless, friendless, soulless, lifeless, or—even worse for some—your in-laws might come over for a visit.

Food is a big component of every aspect of our lives, so it makes sense that certain foods are tied in with superstitions. These are the quirky traditions that make each community unique and hold it together over time. Most of the time, they’re a tad kooky—way more fiction than fact.

But there are still true believers who watch out for noodles, never spill salt, and hold onto their tortillas. Read on:

Long Live Noodles! 

In China, noodles are meant to be devoured whole. Long noodles represent a long life, and cutting one in half will cut your own life short. So go ahead and eat your dish Lady and the Tramp-style. Just don’t slurp up your food—that’s considered disrespectful in many parts of Asia.

A Salt With a Deadly Condiment

Leave it to superstitious folk to attach the devil to a common condiment. If you spill salt in Europe, you must immediately use your right hand to throw more salt over your left shoulder. The sodium chloride hurtling through the air will hit the devil standing behind you and blind him. You must act quickly, though, or Satan will steal your soul!

Beware Hot Peppers

Don’t accidentally burn a friend when cooking with hot peppers. Rumor has it that if you hand a hot pepper to a friend, your friendship will suffer forever after. Instead, put the pepper on the counter and have your friend pick it up. Relationship intact, whew!

Any Fin Is Possible With Fish Scales

In the Czech Republic, people carry fish scales in their wallets. The scales are said to symbolize money, probably because they look like small coins. Holding them in your wallet, while a little smelly, will bring prosperity and fortune swimming your way.

Let’s Taco ‘Bout Tortillas

Mexico has the scariest of all food superstitions. Local folklore says that if you drop a tortilla, your in-laws will pay you an unexpected visit. Gasp! There are lots of superstitions about dropped things—one suggests that if your silverware takes a tumble you’ll have surprise visitors—but this one about a sullied tortilla has us scared stiff!

Got more food superstitions? Let us know in the comments below.

Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato is a freelance science, environment, and health reporter just back to the United States from a stint in Peru. You can find her on Twitter.