Friday, November 1, 2013

Reflections on All Hallows Eve and All Saints’ Day

Give me your tired, your poor, your trick-or-treaters.  I was strongly tempted to shout this from my front stoop.  We have somewhere between 10 and 15 costumed visitors at our house on your average Halloween night.  Not too bad, but I could do with more.  A few kids came trucked in from other neighborhoods.  Bring it on.                                   

Things were rough on the trick-or-treater’s side, too.  As I walked my kids down our street looking for neighbors with outside lights on, we passed too many houses that were dark; and not in a cute, haunted way either.  What is the matter with people?  Who would turn their lights out on Halloween?  Several families left bowls of treats on the porch if they couldn’t be home to answer the door.  It’s nice to see that some still have the spirit.

I guess it is everyone’s right to be elsewhere, or just otherwise occupied on Halloween night.  No one is obligated to open the door to little beggars – even cute ones – who are looking for candy.   But why on earth would anyone not want to?

I suppose my perspective is a little skewed.  I love Halloween.  My dream is to live in a neighborhood swarmed by fairies, hulks, vampires and gypsies on the night of October 31.  I want my front porch to be Grand Central Station for superheroes and princesses, and for my neighborhood to be safe haven for children with a sweet tooth and a love of the spooky.

I deeply love this holiday that is filled with both history and mystery.  It points to our past and our remembrance of ancestors while also reminding us of the unseen spiritual world. 

Today is All Saints’ Day.  This is the “Hallow” in the “All Hallows’ Eve” that got shortened to the modern title of October 31.  On this day, rather than looking for spirits roaming the earth, we remember the real flesh and blood loved ones who were with us once, but have now passed on. 

This is a holiday began by the church in order to bring the Christian faith into the ancient traditions that became Halloween.  In the time before Christ, the Celtic people of northern Europe would honor ancestors long past while they celebrated the harvest and prepared for winter.  Today, we still use this date to remember the saints who have gone before us.  On Sunday in our worship service, we will celebrate them again. 

It is hard to wrap our minds around the union of these events; the silly spookiness of Halloween and the solemn remembrance of All Saints.  And yet they are cousins, related by a long history.

My family’s Halloween goals were ultimately accomplished.  Our children went to bed happy, filled with sweets and memories of one more night of trick-or-treating.  Families came to our door and received our hospitality in the form of “fun-size” candy bars (as if there were any other kind).  We have made the occasion as bright and meaningful as we are able to do and this is enough to be satisfied.  God is present in this and every day, no matter what we name it.

Blessed eating!


We didn’t make our Halloween treats (I don’t think that’s done, nowadays), but here is an awesome cake to celebrate any holiday!


Pea Pickin’ Cake
1 box yellow cake mix                   1 can mandarin oranges
4 eggs                                                1/3 c. oil
Do NOT drain oranges.  Mix all ingredients will.  Pour into 3 round, greased/floured cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min or until done.

Pea Pickin’ Cake Frosting
1 large tub Cool Whip                   1 small vanilla instant pudding
1 can crushed pineapple
Do NOT drain pineapple.  Mix all 3 ingredients.  Frost cake and put in fridge overnight.  You don’t really have to refrigerate overnight but it’s better if it’s in the fridge a day or so before you serve it. – Gena Jernigan

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