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  • Writer's pictureBill Stauffer

Gratitude Friday 10-27-23 – All Hallows Eve 2023

One of my favorite holidays is upon us. Where did it come from? Halloween. The origins of the celebration are open to interpretation. Some hold that it comes from pagan tradition, and others place its origin as part of the Christian celebration of all Saints Day. No matter, it is one of the most popular holidays in America. Commercially, some place it as second to Christmas. Judging on lawn ornamentation in my environs, this rings true. We usually put a few pumpkins out. Perhaps this year I can talk Julie into this 12 foot tall skeleton with LED eyes for our front yard, on sale for a reasonable sounding price of $299. I think our neighbors would love it.

The world is colorful, the air crisp and one can feel that the cold and short, dark days of winter draw near. There is something about the whole season that feels special to me. I am not alone. I found a bunch of seasonal quotes to share, to be enjoyed over a fall beverage of choice.

For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth....Such are the autumn people.” ― Ray Bradbury

October proved a riot a riot to the senses and climaxed those giddy last weeks before Halloween.” ― Keith Donohue

Most people will tell you growing up means you stop believing in Halloween things - I’m telling you the reverse. You start to grow up when you understand that the stuff that scares you is part of the air you breathe.” ― Peter Straub

I should add, however, that, particularly on the occasion of Samhain, bonfires were lit with the express intention of scaring away the demonic forces of winter, and we know that, at Bealltainn in Scotland, offerings of baked custard were made within the last hundred and seventy years to the eponymous spirits of wild animals which were particularly prone to prey upon the flocks - the eagle, the crow, and the fox, among others. Indeed, at these seasons all supernatural beings were held in peculiar dread. It seems by no means improbable that these circumstances reveal conditions arising out of a later solar pagan worship in respect of which the cult of fairy was relatively greatly more ancient, and perhaps held to be somewhat inimical.” ― Lewis Spence, British Fairy Origins

Halloween is a celebration of the inversion of reality and a necessary Gothic hat-tip to the darker aspects of life, death and ourselves.” ― Stewart Stafford

Halloween is an overturning of the natural order, with a lineage in old traditions of reversing the roles, letting the poor become rulers, and bringing the rich low. There has long been a feverish link between monsters and mockery, and those without power have often been given license to play at the edges of civility in order to quell more dangerous lurches towards riot and rebellion.” ― Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times


Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows' Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.” ― Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree

Halloween is the only time people can become what they want to be without getting fired.” ― Sylvester Stallone

I turned my bedroom into a bat-cave of band posters, dark curtains, and the occasional skull. I think by now my distraught parents were seeking advice from their pastor. Andy, meanwhile, calmly remarked, “I like how you’ve found a way to use Halloween decorations year-round.” ― Molly Ringle, All the Better Part of Me

For some, Halloween isn’t just a holiday; it’s a lifestyle, a season. Being spooky and dressing in your favorite horror movie tees and collecting everything jack-o’-lantern and Halloween has become a normal thing for a lot of people. You can’t do that for any other holiday. Every day is Christmas?—wouldn’t work. It would be really weird to see someone walking around with a snowman shirt and a pair of elf ears in July. Either that person really enjoys Christmas or he or she is on a bad trip.” ― E. Reyes, Devil's Hill: An Anthology

I wish you all many treats and no tricks. In my mind this year is how my father, when I was ten years old, would recount detailed Halloween pranks at the dinner table. He had some really elaborate ones which he recounted at the dinner table as my mother tried to hush him. Then on Halloween night, we would go out and replicate what we had learned across the neighborhood. Some of my fondest memories. I am grateful for them. .

What are you grateful for today?

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