Can you imagine carving turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes, or even beets, then setting embers in the hollows? That’s what they used to do in ancient Ireland on All Saints Eve. On that evening, according to the superstitious, there was only a thin partition between the living and the dead, and the dead just might rise up and haunt good folk of the land. A “jack-o-lantern” would ward the spirits off. So they set those funny little turnips and rutabagas on their doorsteps with smouldering lights inside on the eve of All Saints’ Day. This kind of attention to evil spirits was not what the Catholic leaders had in mind when they established the celebration of good saints on All Saints Day or All Hallows’ Day way back about the Fourth century. But, as he is so crafty at doing, Satan took the celebration of good things and made it into an emphasis on ghouls and goblins. We don’t hear much about All Hallows’ Day, but a lot about Hallowe’en. In fact, it is second only to Christmas in the amount of money spent each year, according to some sources.
When the Irish immigrants saw great orange pumpkins in America they began carving those instead of rutabagas. They are much easier to carve, much bigger, and much brighter. And they make good pies. Ever eat any rutabaga pie?
We’re going to have fun with Halloween and not let the Devil get the upper hand. We’re going to use the day as an opportunity to celebrate life, even eternal life. In the goodie bags we pass out will be cards to show how Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We probably will never know if those little bags of candy and cards made any greater difference than to bring a smile to a little costumed child’s face. But that’s okay.
Speaking of costumes, it’s such fun to see the many outfits, the ingenuity shown by children and their parents, and the great pleasure that all receive. Children really love to dress up and dramatize. At our church’s festival (a wonderful way to make good of a “haunted” holiday) children arrived looking like firemen, policemen, Spiderman, Angels, princesses, and even a cute rendition of Charlotte of Charlotte’s Web. I look forward to seeing many more this evening.
The moon isn’t full but it’s getting fatter every night and shedding its milky light.
The basket is full of goodies. The bags are ready with tea lights inside to make a welcoming pathway of lights to our door. And was that a hoot owl I heard calling?
P.S. Feet are up. Warmth from a cozy fire soothes our nerves. Pumpkin pie and coffee. Mmmmmm! It was a very good evening. About 200 cute little trick-or-treaters–a bride with filmy veil, a cowgirl in a big hat, lots of Spiderman short-stuffs, our very own Kaison as a peek-a-choo complete with lightning on the back that he called his tail.
P.S. Our feet are up. The fire is warm on the grate. Coffee with pumpkin pie. Mmmmm! It was a wonderful evening with the children–200 of them! A bride, a cowgirl, a “peek-a-choo” and many, many more.
Hope you had a good one too!