While we’re celebrating this spooky season, let’s pause and take a look at some of the baby names that might be exactly right for a baby born on October 31st.
In years past, we’ve talked about plenty of names with ties to this fall festival.
This year, let’s look at Goth names.
No, not the Germanic tribe. (Though maybe we’ll do that in 2015.)
Instead, Goth baby names are dark and daring – part-punk, part-Victoriana. They’re romantic, sometimes extravagantly so.
But they’re not outlandish or unthinkable. Or at least, the Ten Goth Baby Names for Girls, and the Ten Goth Baby Names for Boys in this list are wearable in 2014.
In fact, a few are so mainstream that they may not be Goth enough for some.
Goth Baby Names for Girls
Annabel – “Annabel Lee” was Edgar Allan Poe’s last poem, published posthumously. It wasn’t his first poem about a lovely young woman who meets a tragic fate, but it is probably his best known. Annabel ranks #480 as of 2013, but Annabelle is now the more popular spelling, charting at #81 in 2013. With scary doll flick Annabelle in theaters now, this name has spooky ties galore.
Evangeline – In Longfellow’s 1847 lament about the Acadian Expulsion, Evangeline Bellefontaine doesn’t die. But she’s separated from her beloved, Gabriel, and they spend their lives apart. Only many years later are they reunited, Evangeline as a Sister of Mercy nursing the sick in a hospital, and Gabriel on his deathbed. Romantic, tragic, dark.
Anastasia – There’s something captivating about the story of Anastasia, youngest daughter of the last Tsar of Russia. The entire imperial family met a grisly fate, but for decades, rumors circulated that Grand Duchess Anastasia had escaped. With the passing of time – and the 1997 musical with the happily-ever-after ending – Anastasia is less tied to the ill-fated royal. And yet, her name means resurrection, keeping Anastasia firmly in Camp Goth.
Lilith – We’ve loved Lily names in recent years, but Lilith is no elegant botanical. By tradition, she’s the first wife of Adam, cast out of Eden for her willfulness. Lilith comes from the Akkadian lilitu – night. Lilith’s ties to Lily make her wearable; her connection to the night keeps her Goth.
Claudia – Claudia’s claw sound might deter some parents. And yet, this ancient name couple appeal to parents after something rarer than Julia, but just as enduring. Characters like Monster High’s Clawdeen Wolf have worn forms of the name, but Claudia makes the Goth Baby Names list thanks to Anne Rice’s child-vampire in her Vampire Chronicles series.
Vesper – A Bond Girl name, but also the name for the evening star. Vespers is an evening prayer service. The name nods to religious faith, the night sky, and pop culture all at once. In our age of Harper and Piper, Vesper is also more wearable than ever before.
Bellatrix – Plenty of celestial objects have great names, and many of those names lean Goth. But Bellatrix – a star in the constellation Orion – has a second association. The villainous, and wholly unrepentant, Bellatrix LeStrange from the Harry Potter series cements this name’s place on the Goth Baby Names list. And just might make her unwearable, too.
Lucretia – Lucretia was a legendary Roman maiden, a third century saint, and a nineteenth century suffragette. Then there’s Lucrezia Borgia, of the Italian Renaissance. While historical accounts vary, in popular culture she’s portrayed as a scheming, dangerous woman, as ruthless as any of the Borgia men. In 2006 high school comedy John Tucker Must Die, a student in Goth-signature dark black and heavy eye makeup is called Kimmy, only to retort “My name is Lucretia!”
Drusilla – The best known bearer of the name was Roman Emperor Caligula’s sister, and possibly his lover, too. Drusilla comes from a Roman family name, but makes the list for two reasons. First, there’s her association with her demented and powerful brother. But more recently, there’s Victorian vampire Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoffs.
Tanith – Tanith was the Phoenician goddess of the moon and stars – enough to land her on the Goth Baby Names list. Plus, her name means “serpent lady.” And lastly, Tanith is associated with child sacrifice in Ancient Carthage – though some historians argue that this is a tale told by Carthage’s enemies, not historical fact. Add it up, and Tanith is dark and heavy with Goth associations. Despite this, I think her name sounds light and almost poetic.
Goth Baby Names for Boys
Griffin – Or maybe this should be Gryphon, as in the majestic mythical beast. Part-lion, part-eagle, the creature appears from Ancient Greece through medieval heraldry. Griffin is also associated with the Welsh name Gruffudd. At #225 in the US as of 2013, Griffin is solidly established as a boys’ name.
Bram – Bram is big in the Netherlands, and could be heard more in the US if Abraham and Abram continue to catch on. But Bram earns a place on the Goth Baby Names list thanks to Mr. Stoker, author of Dracula. The nineteenth century novelist created an entire genre of horror story and romantic anti-hero.
Lazarus – From a religious perspective, the associations with Lazarus are positive. Christ raises one Lazarus from the dead. Another is described as worthy to enter heaven, even though he was powerless and penniless in life. But because of that first Lazarus, we tend to associate this name with the reawakening of the dead. It lends Lazarus a certain Goth dimension.
Corbin – Ravens are strongly associated with Goth imagery, and Corbin comes from the Old French corbeau. Corbett is another surname-name associated with the bird, and they probably started out as names for dark-haired people. It’s a subtle entry on the list of Goth baby names, because most American parents probably think of blonde actor Corbin Bernsen first.
Wolf – Animal names have gone from fringe to mainstream, and Wolf – as in Wolfgang – is accepted as possibility. From werewolves to vampires, plenty of creatures are associated with wolves. The surprise isn’t that Wolf makes the list of Goth Baby Names – the surprise is how wearable this one seems in 2014.
Nicodemus – There are tons of Nick- names, and many of them have had a good run. There’s a Saint Nicodemus, a companion of Jesus during his lifetime, and several other men in the ancient world. Nicodemus is also a character in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. This name makes the list almost purely on sound. Nicodemus feels like he could be dark, or at least mysterious. A handful of fictional uses have capitalized on this potential.
Draco – Another Harry Potter name, this time belonging to Harry’s chief schoolyard rival, the privileged and twisted Draco Malfoy. Unlike his cousin Bellatrix, Malfoy isn’t mad or all-bad. But he’s a villain for most of the tale. His name comes from the Latin draconem – serpent, also the source of our word dragon. Danica McKellar – Winnie from The Wonder Years – named her son Draco in 2010, and who can argue with Winnie Cooper?
Theron – If Hunter is too mainstream, how about Theron? It’s the Greek equivalent, and a name that charted in the US Top 1000 for decades. In 1896, American author Harold Frederic penned The Damnation of Theron Ware, a story of a Methodist minister who struggles with his faith. In 1968, author James Blish gave the same name to an evil magician in Black Easter. The name is wearable – especially with the rise of Theo and Theodore – but feels leans Goth, too.
Oberon – A king of the fairies from the Middle Ages through Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a moon of the planet Uranus. Like Nicodemus, Oberon makes this list partially on sound alone.
Rook – A rook is a member of the crow family, and so another creature name. But it is also the preferred name for the chess piece sometimes known as the tower. Both associations – with crows and siege towers – have a hint of darkness. Rook isn’t often used as a first name, but it is on the rise – 30 newborn boys were called Rook in 2013.
What do you think of Goth baby names? Would any of these make your own shortlist? Are there others that should be included?