Halloween: it’s known as the day when the veil between worlds of the living and the dead is the thinnest. In pagan times, it was the eve of Samhain—pronounced sow’-en or sow’-ween.—the end of the Celtic year, the beginning of winter and the day when the dead were said to rise from the grave and walk the earth. Like many pagan holidays, it was Christianized in the Middle Ages as a Catholic vigil observed on the eve of All Saints Day, November 1—All Hallows Eve.
Regardless of its origin, it was a day when homages for the dead were observed, and eventually it became linked with spooks, ghosts, all things that go bump in the night.
Our neighbors on one side have two elementary school-aged kids, and they are big on holiday decorations, usually putting up an extensive Halloween display by the first week of October. This year they waited until Oct. 10 – late for them. Last year they had a skeleton laid out on the lawn among the plastic headstones, cobwebs, bats and assorted spooky paraphernalia. On a couple of occasions, Noah would sneak over there and grab a plastic femur or some other bone and run off with it, wagging his tail. I have not seen that skeleton this year.
The neighbors on the other side don’t celebrate Halloween, keep their outside lights turned off, and don’t answer the door to any trick and treaters. Being from Haiti, they know a thing or two about the dark side and don’t want to encourage. Wisner, the man of the house, has told me stories of voodoo curses and zombies and he wasn’t kidding. Why Americans celebrate and play with the dark side is beyond him.
As for us, no decorations, but we carve a pumpkin and provide goodies for the costumed little ones that come by. Also, a little synchro, a day or two before the neighbors started assembling their holiday decor, I noticed something laying in front of our front door – something that Noah was very interested in. I took a closer look – a dead bat. Probably caught by one of the cats. I showed it to our Halloween-happy neighbors and the mother and kids all backed away in horror. I had the real thing – no plastic bats for us!
Happy Halloween to everyone!