Autumn is my favorite season of the year.
Don't get me wrong. There is something beautiful to be enjoyed with each season. But when leaves turn golden, red, orange and brown, layering the ground in color as the trees prepare for Winter and crisp air chills the skin, I cannot help but feel a frision of excitement.
As a child, the prospect of dressing up in a homemade costume (ghost, crystal ball reader or witch--no surprises there) became an all encompassing passion. The driving force for my love of Halloween. Here's part of the reason why. Elementary schools back in my day had holiday celebrations through most of the day with parties, parades, etc. Halloween was no exception.
After school, as soon as I got off the bus, I'd race up our driveway (we lived in the country so that was quite a jog from road to house) where my mother waited with a pumpkin to carve. Then, I put the pumpkin on our front porch. Later, as dusk grew we would place a candle within so she could light our Jack-o-Lantern (for keeping spectres away, many of which I could sense around our house from an early age. And the protection of a glowing pumpkin on All Hallows Eve is magick I learned young even though I've no memory from whom).
After a quick supper, I'd grab the brown paper sack which held my costume (dragged to and from school) and out the door I'd go, down the long driveway and across the road to my friend's house to change for trick-or-treating. As this was the early to mid-1970's we got to walk up and down our quiet country road with flashlights and plastic pumpkins or goodie bags for our candy spoils on our own. So not only did I get to dress up and beg candy off our neighbors, Halloween was the night I could do so without adult supervision (okay, so my friends older sister came too but she was a kid herself). You can understand my enthusiasm.
Ah, the good ole days.
There was also the benefit of everything spooky on open display! Ghosts, magick, and other oddities were socially acceptable to read about through the month of October. As a child, I was drawn to witchcraft and psychic mediumship without fully understanding what that meant for me. Halloween gave me permission to come out of the shadows, indulge in that interest without recrimination, for at least a small period of the year. For a witch or pagan who may be closeted, this is the one time of year a person can be their true selves, can indulge their interests and beliefs and (for the most part, there are always "those" people) few will notice or care.
In our recent episode, Wheel of the Year- Samhain, we share and discuss the history behind this Sabbat, along with some of the traditions which have arisen and are observed to this day. Ode and I have a slight disagreement on how this particular holiday has come down through the generations in overall theme (honoring the dead, spiritually thin time, spirits roaming, etc) but we do agree on the wonderful way in which the more devotional aspects of Samhain can be enjoyed right along side the spooky thrills of Halloween.
This is why we will prepare a silent supper in honor of our ancestors and those loved ones who've passed. These will be things which go on throughout the day right along side of our Halloween traditions of carving a pumpkin which will be given the task of protecting our home through the evening (one year, the magick was so strong a two hour candle lasted nearly six--no kidding). We will drink apple cider and eat plain donuts (if you are from Michigan you know this is a thing). We will watch our favorite scary movies (The Woman in Black--too much spook!) along with our favorite witchy ones (Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown). We will hand out candy to any kids who come calling. We will listen to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow's famous chase scene. We will perform divination as individuals and as a family. I will perform a casting, black mirror scry. We will bury an apple for a lost soul.
I love Halloween. I love Samhain. I love that I can celebrate both in such beautiful, fun, and unique ways on the same day. And I love that I am free to do so.
May you have a Blessed Samhain and a Happy Halloween