Here in South Africa Halloween is not a big deal and I have never given it much thought other than it being my childhood friend’s birthday and her always having a fancy dress party to celebrate. Last year Cliff decided that it would be fun for the children if we bought a pumpkin to carve and have a bit of a party at home. Of course once you do something once with kids they expect a repeat. When Cliff broached it last year I first felt a bit iffy about Halloween but with no factual basis. I sort of had an impression that it highlighted dark stuff (yes very vague), based on the odd book and movie that I have read and seen. This week Fjord came home from school quite concerned because a classmate told him that it is wrong to celebrate Halloween because it is the devil’s birthday. I decided to look into it a bit and found a few interesting pages which set my mind at ease. To quote “All Hallow’s Eve. (“Hallows” mean “saints,” both mean “holy ones,” as in “Hallowed be thy name.” “Eve” means the evening before.) So, Halloween means “the evening before All Holy Ones’ Day.” Once comfortable that we were not inviting forces of darkness into our home we had a lot of fun.
Cliff must have driven around for about 4 hours trying to find a pumpkin to carve. The children have such fun watching the face take shape then being illuminated. I bought a pack of streamers which Fjord and Acacia draped around the garden for a bit of party feel. Cliff also bought sweets at Woolies in the shapes of bats, teeth, spiders and eyeballs which he then hid in the garden for them to do a little hunt (I sort of flip side of an Easter egg hunt). I also had fun making them some halloween themed cup cakes. Well now Fjord has wised up to the costume angle so guess what will be expected of me next year?
On a serious note I think that it is good to remember those who have left us and to maybe say a special prayer for them on that day. It is also good to be reminded of our mortality, we live in a death denying culture. We don’t like to think or talk about death but it would do us all good to remember that our time is brief and life is so very precious, a gift not to be squandered.