A cloudy night sky on Halloween

Mercury Retrograde Starts On Halloween & That's Some Pretty Spooky Stuff

Life can be crazy enough without the influence of the planets getting in the way. But as fate would have it, Mercury is going into retrograde on Halloween this year, and that means more tricks than treats are in store for everyone. Getting through this period is kind of like trick-or-treating through the neighborhood: Staying alert and knowing what to avoid will help you get through without too much fear.

In a nutshell, astrologers follow the orbit and position of the planets as they relate to the movement of Earth. Sometimes, it appears as though a planet is actually traveling backwards (don't worry; it's really an optical illusion), and that planet is said to be "in retrograde." Mercury goes into retrograde three or four times a year, explained The Old Farmer's Almanac, and in 2019, the final retrograde period stretches from October 31 all the way to November 20.

Because astrologers consider Mercury to be the planet that rules communication, having it go into retrograde throws a wrench into all of our verbal, written, and electronic interactions, explained astrologer Susan Miller on her website. "It is crucial not to sign paperwork, make agreements, or start new relationships in business or love," LA-based professional astrologer Kyle Thomas tells Romper via email. "If you do, when Mercury returns to normal orbit, it will become clear that whatever foundation the agreement was founded on, it won't be what you or the other person thought it was."

To complicate matters, there will be other cosmic events going on that could make Halloween more trick than treat. "The New Moon on October 27 will be affecting the entire coming week," explains Thomas. "Uranus (surprise, chaos, shocking news) is at odds with the Sun (life, you) + the Moon (emotions, reactions). Plus, with Mercury going retrograde, it creates all sorts of mishaps and potential for hiccups in our lives."

What does this mean for your Halloween in particular? While Thomas advises everyone to be cautious, you don't have to cancel your plans and spend the night huddled on the couch watching the Hocus Pocus marathon. (Besides, there's no way your kids would let you make them miss trick-or-treating.) As with everything in astrology, it's up to you to take the information and use it to your best advantage.

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Since misunderstandings are common during a Mercury retrograde, take some time on Halloween to confirm all your plans, especially if you're going trick-or-treating with other families. The last thing you want is to show up a half hour late when the kids are itching to get going. Be specific when you talk to your children, too. If you're setting a candy-eating limit for the preschoolers or a curfew for the tweens, make them repeat your instructions back to you so there's no room for error.

Tech glitches are to be expected, so don't be surprised if your texts to your partner don't go through, or if you have trouble uploading all your fun Halloween party photos to Instagram. If you're writing anything important, keep hitting that "save" button and backing up all your data. Think twice before going on a social media rant, cautioned the AstroTwins; you might get some responses you didn't expect. And don't let the kids play games on your phone, unless your warranty covers cracked screens or mishaps in the toilet.

The retrograde affects individual sun signs in different ways, explained For instance, Libras are likely to experience delays and confusion about money matters, while Leos could see unexpected changes in their home environment. People born under the sociable sign of Sagittarius might be uncharacteristically introspective and want some alone time, and Pisces-born folks could see kinks in their plans to travel or enroll in a college course.

Frustrating as a Mercury retrograde period can be, it's not a total gloom-and-doom time. "Anything from the past is favored during this time," says Thomas. If you've been thinking of reconnecting with an old friend, finishing that scrapbook you began last year, or getting back to the morning jog routine you used to enjoy, this is the perfect opportunity. Did you misplace your favorite bracelet or your child's pumpkin candy bag? Look again on Halloween night. "Sometimes things we have lost pop up during these times!" says Thomas.

Think of these next few weeks as a time to breathe, reflect, and reassess. "Mercury retrograde is actually a blessing in disguise, because it means we can take a step back and look at the world around us," says Thomas. "If we're always charging forward, we can sometimes miss the important details."

Once Mercury goes direct again (just in time for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays — yay!), misinterpreted texts, contract snafus, and stalled plans will be less of an issue. Best of all, we won't see another Mercury retrograde period until February 18 of 2020, so it won't interfere with our ability to write a sweet Valentine's Day card to our loved ones.