Halloween has been my favourite holiday since I was about 2 feet tall, dressing up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. As I grew, I took a turn and later started dressing as a witch. It’s funny the evolution- I use to dress as a witch with a pointy hat and black dress and a broom stick.
Today, I’m also dressed as a witch, though slightly different.
Black skirt, white button down, black sweater, Mary Janes, and a Gryffindor tie.
My wand and my Hogwarts Library are strategically placed on the desk behind me, and it is giving me such a joyful energy. I love when my love of literature comes together with my love for Halloween. What better story to go with than Harry Potter! Unless of course, we’re talking about The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, my other favorite Halloween book!
I’m dressed up because we are going to be handing out candy in our building (a renowned business school) a little later to local children who will come “Trick or Treating” in our building.
I really will take any excuse to dress up.
I love that even when I’m almost 30, I am super pumped about even the littlest costume and details, and that even in this ultra professional environment, I’m managing to still make people stop, think and smile.
I love Halloween for other reasons too- the historical context of the holiday, how it began and how it’s been celebrated over the centuries. The superstitions, particularly that Halloween is the night when the veil between the living and the spirit world is the thinnest, making it easier for us to be near those who have left the living world.
Not that I’m sitting with a Ouija board trying to catch up with Grandma (those things are not to be played with!) but it’s just nice to feel as though perhaps those I miss so much are a little closer than they normally are.
I love the history of Halloween most of all. In the UK and Ireland, its called Samhain (sow-in), a Celtic festival where people would light fires and dress up to ward off roaming ghosts. It was also the time of the Celtic New Year, which represented the end of summer, the harvest season and the beginning of winter, which also was associated with a time of death.
Currently, especially in the U.S., Halloween is a children’s holiday celebrated by dressing up as favorite characters and going door to door in neighborhoods getting candy. The 30th of October has become traditionally known in the past 20 years or so, as Hell Night or Mischief night, giving teenage angst an excuse to roam the quiet streets of unsuspecting neighborhoods causing vandalism (mostly toilet paper) and damage.
Growing up, my dad was a police officer and he warned of what happens on Hell Night. My neighbors took a good offensive measure to the tradition by inviting all the neighborhood kids to TP their house so that we wouldn’t have the urge to get into any trouble. They usually decorated for Halloween any way, and felt the toilet papering gave their house and even spookier element. (I love my neighbors).
Some kids still went out and caused mayhem but for the most part, we kept off the streets that night.
Being almost 30 now, I guess it’s time to consider myself a “grown up”, and in my exploration of self this year, I’ve come to realize the things that are most important to me- traditions in particular. I love the celebration of Halloween in regards to the Samhain traditions- bonfires, dressing up, and the celebration of the change of seasons and feeling connected to the natural progression of time and celebrating it.
No matter how old I get, I’ll always engage and invite the magic, mystery and superstitions with open arms every year!