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 take a glance into another world, to pierce the veil of what is real and true.
We use to go block to block in our costumes, we called it Trick or Treating, we carried pillow cases slung over our shoulders, taking candies at nearly every door we knocked on, with nearly every bell we rang.
We scoffed at the people who only handed out little bibles or toothpaste, or some home-made fare, thinking they were doing something good.
We would rather have nothing at all than have those things, which quickly found their way into the trash.
I remember the drill of searching through our candy piles at the end of the night, looking for suspicious things, open packages, pins and needles and razor blades.
We understood that some people hated children and would slip these into the candies.
I never found anything dangerous, never once in all of those years.
Halloween is not all fun and games, though, it has a deeper meaning, than we were taught as children, a long history
Halloween is was not just about ghosts and goblins and friendly witches.
In the celebration of Halloween an ages old conflict is present, between the Christian Church, and the “Old Time Religion,” the customs of the pagans, paganus, pagani, the country folk and their persistent traditions lurking just beneath the surface of the Christian rites.
On the Christian Calendar; Halloween is All Hallows Eve, a celebration of the honored dead, of all the saints who had passed before, who have gone already 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, of all of the dead, of the saints and sinners who have passed from this world together.
Halloween is an acknowledgment of the dead whose spirits live among us still; good and bad, honored or not; more often than not Halloween celebrates the dangerous, the macabre, the frightening and the weird, those qualities and characteristics that every person hides within themselves, because they are in fear of the world.
I was fourteen the last time I went Trick or Treating, and really, I was only chaperoning my younger brother, I was not dressed up, but 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 above it instead, or better yet, to the exclusion of anything else.
There was no fun in that, there was no fun in him. He was just an old man watching his tradition fade away, usurped by those of another generation, less committed to the Church.
In the years that followed, the number of children who go out in costumes seeking candy has declined by 25%, so the media outlets say.
Halloween is no longer considered safe or wholesome. It has yielded to the real dangers of the real world.
For me it is just another day, Halloween, I do not believe the dead walk with us. I have never seen a ghost, or any evidence of magic.
There are real horrors in the world, package bombers and angry middle-aged white guys with guns.
We have a pumpkin colored demagogue for a president, spreading fear, night and day at every turn.
We should all be thankful that we have the time to luxuriate in the fantastic and the surreal.
Given 1st – 2016.10.31