The air’s getting colder, the leaves are turning here in New Jersey, and the Halloween season is upon us.
We had our family ritual today of taking the boxes of Halloween decorations out of the garage and starting to get the house properly spookified. The Great Pumpkin was on the DVD player (and afterwards the original The Mummy was on TBS), and cardboard and plastic ghosts and skeletons have started to adorn the house.
Later, this means that our weekends will get really busy. I’m hosting Winternights for my tribe this year, and then we’ve got our family Halloween party, and then there’s my wife’s coven, which does a Dumb Supper to honor the dead and then their actual Samhain celebration. It’s really nice– they stay up all night outside by a blazing bonfire to ring in the new year. I sleep, providing soup and hot cider before I go to bed, and donuts and coffee when I wake up.
And in and around all that we have multiple cemetery visits, loads of horror movies (I prefer the old Hammer films myself), a trip to Six Flags for fright fest, and this year I am treating myself to a Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson concert in Manhattan. Plus of course trick-or-treating (both giving and receiving). It’s going to be a busy month!
But in and around all that is the very definite feeling that the veil is thinning. It’s not a particularly Germanic concept; our wheel of the year turns around Yule, and that’s when the ghosts really come out for us (there’s a faint echo of that in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol). But that’s a subject for another post in, say, two months or so.
There’s a great feeling that there’s something special about this time of year, and it’s very cool that it’s a feeling that’s shared by the larger mundane culture around us. Symbols of the ancestors and the harvest are all around us, and it’s nice to feel that we’re not out of sync with the rest of society, at least for a month. The symbols of Christmas and Yule are similarly simpatico, but somehow the Halloween season just feels like everyone is on the same wavelength on a subconscious level, and that it’s more than just our symbols that match. I like it; it feels like we’re all Pagans in October, at least on some level.