Hallowe’en (short for hallowed evening or holy evening, because it is the night before All Saints’ Day, November 1) is a strange thing.
Children go outdoors into the darkening streets which they are normally not encouraged to do.
They go door to door to visit strangers that they are told to normally avoid.
They ask for and receive candy, which they are told they are normally not supposed to take from strangers.
Both children and adults dress up in attire suggesting themes of creatures we are supposed to normally be afraid of or dress in ways we might normally be afraid to do.
Hallowe’en sees folks dressed up as things we fear to be fatal to us: vampires, monsters, witches, ghosts and even symbols of death itself like skeletons and such.
As I said, it is an odd occasion that is meant to be fun and frivolity and for most not at all a commemoration of evil as some religious fundamentalists would have us believe.
Now, I know, per usual, I tend to overthink things, but Hallowe’en for me represents something more, something I think that is often uncontemplated when we consider this occasion.
It is a symbol of people facing their fears with farce and folly.
We fear the dark yet we face it on this night.
We fear violence and vulnerability, yet we dress up in attire that is either violent or makes us more vulnerable.
We fear death and our mortality yet we dress up as those very symbols that represent death and mortality.
It is a great pity that the courage we find for one night to mock what we fear is not found the other 364 days and nights of the year.
Imagine a world where we boldly face our fears and see them for the illusions that they truly are.
Imagine a world where we boldly mock what we fear and nonetheless refuse to permit these fears to overwhelm us but instead learn to love the journey of life and find its joys along the way.
Imagine a world where we forget what was done and cannot be reversed.
Imagine a world where we do what we can when we can and let go of what we cannot control.
Imagine a world where we do what we can to create a better tomorrow in the realisation that the future unwritten can never be predicted or controlled.
I love Hallowe’en for its unconscious demonstration of courage.
I hope it never disappears.