Things I love, cont’d…


From Ghosties and Ghoulies
And Long-legged Beasties
And Things that go Bump in the Night
Good Lord, deliver us.

The night of ghosts and goblins, of princesses and warriors is approaching. The stores are lined with racks of make-believe and the shelves are groaning with candy. Bookstores have eye-catchers on display with every spooky story ever written. The nights are cool; the mornings are fog-ridden. The change of seasons, from lush summer to dying autumn is inescapable.

I love it!

I love the crackly leaf smell, the hint of pumpkin, the reds and yellows that costume the trees.

I love the tottering kids all dressed up and earnest, the cascades of candy, the families walking the streets at night to beg treats from their neighbors.

I love the spooky dark, the grinning jack-o-lanterns, the creeping cold.

My memories of Halloween aren’t too different I suspect than anyone else’s around here. I remember the ponderings of what costume to wear or make. I had one store-bought costume – a pirate, complete with a red-haired wig and rubber knife. When I grew out of that, I became a hobo. My dad’s old shirt, makeup on my face to create whiskers, and a piece of cloth tied around a long stick for a hobo bundle. We hunted candy assiduously, with a pillowcase for a cache bag.

Then there was the next day to enjoy, picking over candy, comparing the haul with my brother and friends. Eating sweets until I was sick. I don’t think I ever wondered why we dressed up in costumes, wandered the streets like little banshees, and cajoled bags of candy from laughing neighbors.

Why questions something that incredible?

I love that buried beneath the candy and costumes lies the tradition that we are travelling a road of existence – that there is more, both good and bad somewhere farther along just out of sight. The dark, the make-believe, and the food offerings connect us to a distant, much less benign past, and to a future that is unknowable. So much better to feast on candy and laugh in costume than to huddle around a flickering fire.

When my dogs hear scary noises, they hide. When we feel scared, unless we succumb to our worst instincts, we make a ritual that embraces everything we love – even trickiness and treats. I love that inside the shiny red wrappers of Halloween, lies a taste of eternity.



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