I LOVE Halloween. I am not mad at all about the recent trend toward decorating your yard and house with all kinds of Halloween stuff, and I join in as much as I can each year. We have a Halloween get-together that’s becoming a tradition, and I dress up about every other year.
My son’s complaint this year, when I told him I was going as a lacrosse player (because half of our household plays, it’s a super easy costume!) was, “that’s not SCARY.” Because he’s at the age where your social life depends on how many scary movies your parents have let you see (NONE), things need to be scary.
I love that Halloween, while maybe originating from a pagan holiday like most Christian holidays, was celebrated for years as a “get your spookies out” before All Saints Day, which is today. Let the ghosts run loose, because tomorrow they’ll be expected to be properly remembered in the graveyards where they belong. Dress as something scary, because on Halloween, the dead might be a little closer than usual.
That might sound scary, but to me, it’s not. It’s sad, but not scary. If you’ve got dead people, and according to the wise Rocket the Raccoon (don’t call him a raccoon!), “Everybody’s got dead people,” it is for you, too.
This year, I added two more people to the ones who have died that I think about on this day. My grandma, and my cousin Matt. Maybe you’ve added people this year too, or maybe you have people from a long time ago. Either way, it’s a day that we remember our “blessed dead.” I love the idea from Latin America of having a picnic at the cemetery, even spreading a blanket right over your beloveds.
On Halloween, and on All Saints, we’re allowed to think about the living and the dead as not so far apart. We’re allowed to scare each other (dude with a chainsaw in my neighborhood, I’m looking at you!) and then laugh about it. We’re allowed to remember with happiness those who made us happy when they were alive, and to feel their presence with us now that they’re dead. We’re allowed to wonder about what it’s like wherever they are, and to be sad, and to not have all the answers, and make up stuff as art so that we can think about it together, as a culture (Walking Dead, iZombie, etc), and talk about this strange thing we call the Resurrection, too.
So I will be lighting candles for my beloved dead this weekend as I do every year. I hope you remember your people well, too, and that maybe we can even laugh at the thing that scares us the most. Peace and blessings, and happy All Saints Day.