October 31

Happy Halloween! I spent the evening with some friends at my boyfriend’s house. We ordered Indian food and watched him hand out candy to the children brave enough to trick or treat in the cold, windy night. I always feel bad for the excited kids who spend time on costumes only to have to cover up in winter coats. And I’m usually more into the holiday than I was this year. I have tons of spiders (huge ones even) and talking witches and black lights and a plethora of other ghoulish decor that I normally decorate with. But not this year. Outside of placing a few pumpkins and fall flowers out front, I didn’t really decorate my house at all. Part of that was knowing that the dog wouldn’t leave stuff alone, and part of it was laziness. I simply have enough going on.

It’s interesting to me how Halloween has its roots in Christian traditions. Today is All Hallow’s Eve, the day before All Hallows (All Saints) day when saints are honored in some protestant but mostly in the Catholic Church. November 2 is All Souls Day which is a day of prayer for the dead. I’m sure this succession of death related holidays helped foster suspicions and gave rise to a lot of the spooky Halloween traditions we now know. In fact, according to a guy named Prince Sorie Conteh, people believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints’ Day, and All Hallows’ Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognized by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities. Of course, if that were really true, I’d say a lot more adults should be wearing costumes instead of kids. Yet the idea of kids trick or treating also came from a Christian practice during these few days called “souling” when poor children would go door to door collecting cakes in exchange for praying for the souls of departed loved ones.

I love how a lot of our traditions and customs often come from rather unexpected sources. Today Halloween seems pretty far away from anything Christian. However, I don’t mind the spookiness of the holiday. It’s fun to be scary. And get scared. I’m disappointed I didn’t make it to a haunted house this year. But I’m thankful I spent the night with some friends and shared in some fun and good food. Although I’m still debating on whether or not I’m thankful there’s a lot of candy leftover.

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