When the veil between the living and the dead is thin...
Every year I find that Halloween simply isn't what it used to be. As a kid it was so much easier to feel that excitement. The mystery in the winds. It was the one night of the year that we all embraced strange noises and dark shadows. We wanted to feel a little scared. It was like the fear meant we were doing something right. We were on the right path. And just a little further into the creaking trees and rustling leaves we would find... something.
What I really think it is is that as children we are much more in tune with the things that people generally grow up and forget to believe in. As children we believe in ghosts, witches, fairies (or "faeries" if you prefer, like I do). As children it's viewed as having an imagination and is therefore healthy. But I don't think it's just kids being kids. I think those things are real and when we are young we are so much more open to an experience that may involve the super natural.
As an adult I find that I have to seek that feeling out. I think magic gravitates towards children because they believe in it without reservation. As we get older we have to make a choice; Do we believe in magic? And if we do, is it just because we want to believe it or just because it's really what we think to be true, just like the sun rising or the moon waxing and waning.
As Halloween draws near each year I can feel the difference in the air and the wind. I can feel a presence in a lot of different places. It's said that the veil between our world and that of the deceased becomes weaker on Halloween and spirits can return to earth. I make sure I acknowledge this every year. If my past loved ones are around today I want them to know that I'm with them.
It's a tradition in a lot of cultures to offer food to spirits on Halloween. That's where trick-or-treating came from. Some cultures viewed it as a peace offering to keep ghosts from haunting the household. I just see it as a sign of love and respect. Food has a lot of meaning and offering it to a spirit is the ultimate in respect and acceptance. So I go to the graveyard every year to bring one of my past loved ones a treat. Usually apples or caramels. Some of his favourites.
At this age, it's so easy for Halloween to just become a big party. An excuse to drink a lot, show too much skin, and of course eat lots of candy. But I like to go back to the fun I had as a child. Bobbing for apples, telling scary stories, and ultimately just getting entirely wrapped up in the eeriness that is Halloween. But above all else, I make sure that I appreciate those who have passed on. This day is for them after all. Life and death, night and day, summer and winter. And of course, the candy part is still important. Always has been, always will be.