As I was driving home last night I saw rows of glowing jack-o-lanterns on neighbors' front porches, and lots of extra cars parked outside. It made me wonder, suddenly, what exactly was happening in those houses, what their Halloween parties might be like. (I've never actually been to one.) It also made me think, for the first time, that I might really like to host an annual Halloween party, when I have my own place and, later on, a family.
I could totally see it. It would be like an early New Year's Eve -- which for the most part is what the holiday originally was. I would decorate with pumpkins and plenty of candles, and I would invite everyone to come over with their kids in the evening, after they were done trick-or-treating. We could go through the loot together, and then eat lots of candy and cookies and caramel apples and popcorn. There would be mulled wine for the grownups, and hot cider for the kids. I would have an ofrenda set up for my babies, and each person or family could also honor, if they wished, someone dear to them who had died.
The children would fall asleep eventually, sprawled in front of "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" ...but we would be sure to stay up until midnight at least, playing games and talking, as the last day of October slid gently into November 1st -- Día de los Angelitos, Day of the Innocents, All Souls' Day. A day not for fear, but for remembrance, hope, and prayer.
I find it soothing just to imagine this, this blend of rituals and traditions, made personal and new. The thought of the fact of death being readily and gracefully accepted into the life I am building brings me an unexpected sense of peace.
I don't know that the veil is really thinner at this time of year, my loves;
but if it is, say you'll snuggle up close to me tonight?