My sister persuaded me to accompany her
And my two nephews on her rounds this Halloween
Not my favourite time of the year
She believed two years was long enough, that
Jack would want me to move on. So, I agreed.
The boys looked adorable
My mind lifted; the night felt warm
The lanterns, pumpkins, the orange lights
Filled the air with old time magic.
The boys collected enough sweets to last the year
On the way home, Tommy,
my youngest nephew held my hand and told me,
“I don’t like the man, Aunt Maggie. I want to go home now.”
I turned towards him to ask, “What man?”
My sister stepped in, saying she would explain later
Turns out Tommy had told my sister
He had seen a man walking with me when I arrived
Tommy had described Jack holding my hand…
My seven-year-old son informed me
he would like a knight’s outfit,
with a sword for Halloween.
I thought it odd at the time
For he likes clowns
I managed to find one his size
He looked the very inch of a Knight
in shining armour. No face paint, he said.
He needed to be seen.
After two hours of walking around
I could see my tiny knight tiring
Time for tea, bath and bed, or so I thought.
No amount of persuasion could remove the outfit
He refused to go to bed,
so, I let him fall asleep on the sofa
Carrying him to his bed, he woke
Telling me he had to stay awake until midnight
“If Gran comes back, I have to save her…”
The gifting hour, when the dead can walk among us
Oh God, why had I explained this to him
I should have known he was too young.
He slept with the sword for two weeks
Before leaving it under his bed
Clearing his room, picking stray toys from the floor
I asked if we could put the sword in the toy box
He said he didn’t need it anymore.
“Gran kissed me goodnight, so I know she is all right.”
It seems my tiny knight was happy again…
All Hallow’s Eve
She has diamonds in her eyes, ice in her heart
Don’t let her light in, don’t let it shine
She will steal your eyes then walk away.
On Halloween, she comes to find
The ones they took that left her blind.
A witch’s trial that went not well
Now she is back to break the spell
Of forty years that held her fast.
No mask can hide what once was hers.
Before this night is done, someone will scream
“I have no eyes with which to see”
The sons of old, they did forget
The last known witch from Salem’s lot
Did pass this way, her promise kept…
I think it must be true that time speeds up as you get older, for it is pumpkin time again, and it doesn’t seem that long since the last one finally shrivelled and was thrown away.
Here in England, we don’t seem to celebrate Halloween with quite the same fervour as other countries, but we try. The shops are full of bright orange pumpkins, both real and plastic, witch’s cauldrons and all kinds of scary things; I wonder why we enjoy being scared so much?
I don’t think Halloween was originally intended to scare the pants off the population. The word ‘Halloween’ means ‘hallowed or holy evening’ and that day was originally dedicated to remembering the dead and honouring their memory, in readiness for All Souls Day (1st November)which is quite a departure from ghouls, ghosts and scary pumpkins.
I have always believed (I am a bit of a pagan at heart) that it was an ancient Celtic religious festival called Samhain (31st October-1st November) along with Imbolc (31st January-1st February) Beltane (30th April-1st May) and Lughnasadh (31st July-1st August). You will notice that these festivals are meticulously spaced throughout the year, and the equinoxes slot tidily in between and that has to mean something. Not just a scary day if you see what I mean.
There is quite a sad legend about the carved pumpkins or Jack-o-lanterns. A miserly character called Jack was fond of tricking everyone, including the devil, and when he died, he was turned away from heaven due to his life of sin.
However, the devil wouldn’t let him into hell either and he was cursed to travel the earth forever.
As he left the gates of hell, the devil threw him a hot ember to light his way. Jack put it inside a hollowed out turnip and the legend was born…
Well, happy Halloween to everyone and good luck with your trick or treating, whatever your feelings on the subject.
I think we human beings are a little obsessed with death because we can’t really understand it, and therefore tend to fear it. But we have discovered over the years that if we make light of this fear with a traditional festival or celebration, we can bring it out into the open where we can all look at it in the company of other people.
And have fun at the same time, of course…
Don’t go to the house on Willow Lane
Mother said today
Mrs Hill’s sweets will make you ill
She lost her only child
Now Halloween she hates
She waits for little Jimmy
With spirits to return
To wash her guilt away
She left him by the river
It took his life away…
Would you walk in darkness
Taste the life I lead
Would you live forever
On blood, you have received?
Would my life repulse you?
Must I let you go
Back to warm blood
The only life you know?
With love, I try to hold you
To bring you to my ways
You are the rose to my thorn
I will not throw your life away…
The hour has come, it is midnight.
Light the lanterns
But don’t let your world come undone.
You have heard the tales of Halloween
When doors are open, they slip in
The dead now walk this land
Revenge they seek
Not all will leave a spell behind
Yet there is one who comes in peace
For her lost love, she will sit and weep.
Her time on Earth went by too fast
Love’s kiss still upon her lips.
Each year she comes to find her way
The house she finds by lanterns shine
This time she knows what she will find
With raven hair, her lips of red
Holding hands with a love that is hers
With children’s laughter, the door will be undone
To enter now, to bewitch, to take her form
The raven-haired witch she must dispel
This night feels right for loves return
Will all be well?