So, you and everyone else at the party dressed as a Chilean miner, lame costume aside, you can still up your game when you “spout” off these factoids about gargoyles at this weekend’s Halloween soirees.

True Gargoyles Are Water Spouts

The word “gargoyle” is from the Latin “gurgulio” and old French “gargouille” meaning both “throat” and the “gurgling” sound water makes as it passes through a gargoyle.

Non-spouting Figures Are Grotesques

Any unusual carved creature that doesn’t serve as a water channel is properly called a Grotesque. But today, the word “gargoyle” has become the common generic term for all types of stone sculptures with life like characteristics.

Gargoyles Insult, Inspire and Scare

In addition to diverting water, gargoyles convey messages. The church often used them to motivate the wayward to attend mass while builders and architects could poke fun or voice their displeasure in a very visual and public manner.

Gargoyles For Every Era

The term “Gargoyle” is most often associated with medieval architecture. However, ornamental gutters were used as far back as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and are still crafted today. Some well-known examples are the lion-headed water spouts on the Temple of Zeus and the Chrysler Building gargoyles, which were modeled after automobile products like the Plymouth hood ornament.

Popular Gargoyle and Grotesque Styles

Gargoyles and grotesques come in a variety of forms. From the very traditional like the New York Public Library lions to the unconventional as in the Darth Vader grotesque at the Washington National Cathedral,

these creatures carved of stone are limited only by imagination.