I am getting old, maybe, I will be fifty soon.
When I was young I imagined that Halloween was for children. It was costumes and candy and imaginary play. Halloween was an escape from reality, it was a chance to glance into another world, to pierce the veil of the real and true.
We use to go block to block in our costumes, we called it Trick or Treating, we carried pillow cases with us, taking candies at nearly every door.
We scoffed at the people only handed out little bibles, or toothpaste, or home-made goods.
We would rather have nothing at all.
I remember the drill of searching through our candy piles at the end of the night, looking for suspicious things, open packages.
We understood that some people hated children and would slip needles, or razor blades into the candies.
Halloween was not all fun and games.
Halloween has a deeper meaning, than we were taught as children. It had a long history, and it was not just about ghosts and goblins and friendly witches.
In the celebration of Halloween there is an ages old conflict, between the Christian Church, and the “Old Time Religion,” the customs of the pagans, their traditions lurking just beneath the surface.
On the Christian Calendar; Halloween was known as the All Hallows Eve. It was a celebration of the honored dead, of all the saints who had passed before, gone to meet the maker.
For the old pagans; whose traditions are tightly interwoven with the church, Halloween is a celebration of the dead, plain and simple, all of the dead, the Saints and sinners together.
Halloween is an acknowledgment of the dead whose spirits live among us still; good and bad, honored or not, and more often than not Halloween celebrates the dangerous, the macabre, the frightening, and the weird, those qualities and characteristics that ever person hides within themselves, for fear of the world.
I was fourteen the last year I went Trick or Treating, and really, I was only chaperoning my younger brother. I took some candy nonetheless.
In that same year I remember the Pastor at my church lamenting the popularity of the pagan festival. Believing that the Christian feast should be honored instead, excluding anything else.
There was no fun in that.
In the years that have followed, the number of children who go out in costumes seeking candy has declined by 25%.
Halloween is no longer considered safe or wholesome.
At forty-eight I watch my peers obsess over this Holiday still.
A few of them earn an income through it, I understand that.
Other have children, and for them it is a carrying forward of a tradition.
Most look to Halloween or the weekend preceding it, as a cause to be drunken, to crawl through bars in costumes, to cling to their childhood, to the freedoms they had as children, actual freedoms they remember, some they only imagine that they had.
For me it is just another day, Halloween, I do not believe that the dead walk with us. I have never seen a ghost, or evidence of magic.
Given 1st - 2016.10.31