Leaving a porch light on is a wonderful way to ensure you and potential guests can see when entering your home. But not all porch lights are the same!
If you’re wondering why your neighbors swapped out their regular bulbs for green ones (or purple, blue, red, etc.), here’s everything you need to know about porch light color meaning:
6 Popular Porch Light Colors and Their Meanings
1. Green Porch Light Meaning
Military Veteran Support
The most common reason green porch lights are used is to honor military veterans — both past and present.
In the United States, you’ll likely notice an influx of green light bulbs around Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) and Veteran’s Day (November 11th). Many homes display green porch lights all of the time.
Lyme Disease Awareness
Leaving on a green porch light can also be used to raise awareness for Lyme Disease. But, since May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, it’s hard to tell if someone is acknowledging the tick-borne illness or fallen veterans.
St. Patrick’s Day
On a lighter note, a green porch light in the month of March could mean that the homeowners or their ancestors hail from Ireland!
2. Purple Porch Light Meaning
Domestic Violence Awareness
If you see a porch lit up purple, there’s a good chance the owner is speaking out against domestic violence. While October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, many homeowners leave their purple porch lights on year-round.
Purple porch lights can be an important tool for those in unsafe situations. One of the meanings of a purple porch light is that the home is a safe place for those experiencing or at risk of domestic violence.
The Covington Domestic Violence Task Force was the first organization to use purple lights for domestic violence awareness. Today, however, the movement has spread to all corners of the country (and beyond!).
A lesser-known meaning of purple lights is Epilepsy Awareness. Porches lit purple on February 8th are likely drawing attention to this cause.
3. Red Porch Light Meaning
Heart Health Awareness
You may assume that a neighbor’s red porch lights in February signify their love of Valentine’s Day. But this is just a coincidence. Installing red porch lights in February is actually an activism measure promoted by the American Heart Association!
In the United States, February is American Heart Month. The primary goal of American Heart Month is to educate the public about cardiovascular health and encourage at-risk individuals to speak with their healthcare providers.
Swapping out your porch lights for red bulbs is just one small way you can help to spread the message about cardiovascular health. You can also participate in National Wear Red Day or volunteer in your local community!
Since May 4th is International Firefighters’ Day, any red porch lights turned on for the evening could be in support of your local firefighters. While this initiative started in Australia, the practice has spread to many countries around the world.
4. Blue Porch Light Meaning
Law Enforcement Support
Throughout the year, most blue porch lights signify support for the local police force. Sometimes — but not always — the presence of blue porch lights means that an officer close to the owners was killed in the line of duty.
While less common than law enforcement, blue lights can be used to recognize military veterans.
Another way blue porch lights are used is to celebrate Autism Day. Blue lights installed on April 2nd (or throughout the month of April) are most likely participating in the Light It Up Blue movement.
But before you run out and buy a set of blue porch lights this April, take a moment to research the cause and its support (or lack thereof) from Autistic individuals. Many people have pointed out that Light It Up Blue could do more harm than good for Autism awareness.
Alopecia Areata Awareness
In September, blue porch lights may be a part of a separate Light It Up Blue Movement. This one is in support of Alopecia Areata Awareness Month!
5. Blinking Porch Light Meaning
A blinking porch light bulb could be nothing more than some faulty wiring. But it could also be the sign of someone in distress. A blinking porch light is a nearly universal signal to passersby and emergency personnel alike that someone inside needs help.
The most common scenario where a blinking porch light might be used is to help an ambulance, fire truck, or other emergency vehicles find a specific house.
Turning the porch lights on and off can save valuable seconds that would otherwise be spent looking at house numbers. With that said, if you notice a neighbor’s porch lights flickering 24/7, an electrical issue is the most likely cause!
6. Multi-Colored Porch Light Meaning
What if a house has one blue porch light and one green porch light? Or a purple light on one side of the front door and a red one on the other side? While it’s possible the homeowners just like the look of the different light colors, they could be acknowledging multiple social causes at a time.
There’s also no rule that you must replace all of your porch light bulbs with colored ones. Swapping out just one bulb can be a great way to raise awareness for a good cause without sacrificing outdoor visibility!
Porch Light Color Meaning and Urban Legends
There are also many urban legends claiming that certain porch light colors mean different things.
Some of these supposed meanings are related to illegal activities. But there’s no evidence that porch lights are used this way to any significant degree (if at all!).
Some examples of these fictional meanings include:
- Red porch lights mean a home is anti-firearm/pro-gun reform
- Red porch lights indicate drugs are sold at the property
- Red porch lights signify that sex work occurs at the home (this legend is probably taken from the concept of “red light districts”)
- Green porch lights show someone sells cannabis or is pro-legalization
How Do You Know if a Colored Porch Light Means Something?
Unless you speak to the home’s owner, you really can’t! So it’s best to never assume that a porch light signifies something in particular. Some homeowners install colored porch lights simply for the aesthetic.
They may be ignorant of the accepted meaning of a specific color or just not care. You’ll often see houses with colored lights around special holidays. Swapping out regular light bulbs for seasonally colored ones can be a great way to make your front entryway feel a bit more festive!
Colored porch lights are an interesting phenomenon in recent years. Not only do they add character to home exteriors, but they can also help draw awareness of important social causes.
With that said, it’s important to remember that colored porch lights and their meaning are not entirely universal!
Colored bulbs could hold different meanings in varying parts of the country or around the world. And there’s always a chance that a home boasts colored porch lights for the aesthetic rather than any specific significance.
Have you ever used colored porch lights to signify something? Are there any other causes you know of that use porch lights to raise community awareness? Let us know in the comments below!