This is the eve of All Saints Day. In the middle ages, evidently the belief was that All Saints Day was an especially holy day. The faithful throughout the world would be honoring the Saints and the Saints would be interceding for the faithful, and the powers of darkness would be banished, at least temporarily. But what about the night before all the folks start praying? The eve of All Hallows Day (another way of saying All Saints Day) was the devil’s last chance to prowl.
I grew up celebrating Halloween as a relatively benign holiday; a chance to enjoy a crisp fall evening, to pretend I was someone else, and to enjoy gifts of free candy from my neighbors. Then over the years bad things started to happen–or at least to be reported: people contaminating candy and doing other mean things. Pranks got out of hand and became vandalism. It has been a bad problem it Detroit–people celebrated Devil’s Night by setting the city on fire!
Then there were reports of Satanic cults, and concern that we shouldn’t be honoring the powers of darkness anyway. I live in a pretty quiet small town. A few trick-or-treater’s go out before dark with their parents to houses they know. Otherwise not much goes on. We don’t get to many costumed kids at our house because, well let’s see: I’ve only lived here seven years and not everybody knows me, and I’ve been putting off fixing my porch light for seven years . . .
So tonight I got on my bike and stuffed some candy in my handlebar bag. I rode around searching for trick-or-treaters and delivered the goods to them–in plain view of their parents, of course.
I’m glad the kids are able to enjoy a mild form of the holiday. Of course parents are right to be cautious. But I’m glad they’re not entirely paranoid.
We are about 4 day away from an important national election. Of course there is reason to be concerned. But let’s not become paranoid. Maybe I’m naive, but I’m always a little suspicious of conspiracy theories. Vote your conscience. Vote for the candidate you are convinced will do the most good or the least harm to the country, as the case may be. We have to remain vigilant always–but we don’t need to be paranoid yet.