One hazy autumn afternoon, I sat in a fifth grade classroom and breathlessly opened my Scholastic order. It contained a slim volume about the meaning of names. I was somewhat disappointed by the pedestrian nature of my own name’s definition (dark), although I did get a kick out of learning that had my mom gotten her way and named me Jennifer, it would mean the opposite. I was hooked on the meanings of names, their history, their variations. To this day, when I see a new one, I scribble it down.
When my own daughter arrived during the spooky season, I missed the opportunity to name her in honor of it. In order to spare any expectant parents from that ghoulish fate, I present my Top 5 Favorite Halloween-Themed Boys’ Names.
Let’s start off the list with a friendly ghost, shall we? Casper is derived from the Chaldean “Gizbar,” meaning “Treasurer.” I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that it’s also slang for white person. Other variants of Casper include Caspar, Gaspar, and Gaspard.
Famous namesakes: Casper was the Chaldean (modern Iraq) Magi in the Bible; Casper Sloth, holder of the greatest name in the world (and some sort of Dutch sports football man)
Many of you are now thinking of a Jake Gyllenhaal movie. Aside from manipulative giant rabbits, the name sounds kind of menacing in English. But it’s actually from daru, a medieval Slavic word meaning “gift.” It is a nickname for Bozhidar, Bojidar, and Bozhidara, among others.
Famous namesakes: Serbian basketball player Darko Miličić, Donnie Darko
Ichabod Crane was the hero of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The name is shared by a minor Biblical character and means “inglorious” in Hebrew. I like it because it’s tons of fun to say. Not sure how any cute nicknames could arise from this one. The original is also transliterated as “Ikhavod.”
Famous namesakes: Aside from Crane and the Bible, it was also semi-common in the 17th-19th centuries. Numerous politicians, soldiers, and businessmen held this name.
Full confession, I never finished either Interview with a Vampire or The Vampire Lestat after my mother confiscated them from me when I was a kid. I still remember devouring them as quickly as I could. Lestat was named for Anne Rice’s husband, Stan. She initially spelled the name Lestan.
Famous namesakes: Just the one. But it did peak in 1997, with 10 Lestats born that year, so give it time.
Back in the 15th century, Wallachian voivode (prince) Vlad Țepeș influenced the legend of Dracula with his barbarities. (He also inspired this excellent Kasabian song.) Vlad is generally a nickname taken from names such as Vladimir and Vladislav. It comes from the Slavic “voldeti,” meaning “to rule or control.”
Famous namesakes: several Wallachian voivodes, Romanian footballer Vlad Rusu
I’d love to hear your favorite Halloween-inspired names! Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow.