I'm just back from a Halloween parade in nearby Snob Township. I marched in it. My good ol' friend the Monkey Man called me a few hours before it started and said he was going to go as Walt Whitman. So I put on my Civil War recon gown and went to meet him.
Gotta love the Monkey Man. He didn't dress as Walt Whitman. He dressed as Leaves of Grass. I'll have a photo for you in a day or two. Snob Township has a nice little Halloween parade on October 30 every year. They even dole out cash prizes for best costume -- and the competition is serious. Still, I think Monkey Man has a good chance. There's nothing quite so compelling as a six-foot-plus fellow all done in green construction paper, covered with ripened stalks of grass and lines from Walt Whitman.
Can you imagine this holiday coming and going, and you not recognizing it in any traditional manner?
That's what some ultra Christian families ask of their children. They have "harvest festivals" in the church basement, where kids come dressed as their favorite Bible character (other than Satan, of course.)
If you think about it, celebrating Halloween inside just seems completely wrong. It's a night that begs you out into the air. March in a parade. Watch a parade. Trick-or-treat. Light a bonfire. Breathe that autumn air. Visit a haunted house. Sometimes it's cold. Sometimes it's wet. Doesn't matter, it's a time to be outdoors.
The dark nights are nigh. We'll be hunkered by the fire for months. So this is the opportunity, the sacred opportunity, for youngsters to get outside, to exercise their imaginations, to walk the streets in drifts of colored leaves. We are celebrating something very ancient here, and it still feels right.
What's a Christian to do? Enjoy yourself! Don't be so scared. Don't judge. Don't feel put upon. Give those kids bags and costumes, and let them run the streets for one night. And not dressed as Moses, either.
Let us all have a wonderful Samhain weekend. I'm going to get some rest, then have a Ritual with my little Druid Grove. And I can't wait until the little kids come around in their costumes! I'll be on the porch, with my jack-o-lantern and my sage stick, ready to liberally bestow Skittles on the populace. I've got fudge for my dad, and chicken for my mom, And a shrine that I'll light up as the darkness descends.
Blessings to you all.
The Merlin of Berkeley Springs