Halloween, holidays, rituals, traditions, are all good things, but they are not good unto themselves. Holidays only have true significance, if behind them there is something deeper, something truly meaningful. Celebrating your birthday with a cake and presents is a good thing, but if those things do not cause you to contemplate the deeper meanings of life, and what it really means to have lived another year, then the celebration is just some consumable product, it has become like tissue paper, which may serve an immediate bodily need, but is immediately discarded with no lasting significance. If during the birthday celebration you do not think on life, and how precious it is, and what a gift it has been to live, to breath, and how wonderful it is to have food and friends, and you do not contemplate on those who lived but a brief moment, and on how you may not see your next birthday, and how precious life truly is, and most importantly, if you do not give thanks to Him who is the giver and taker of life, then the celebration, and the day, is meaningless.
Halloween seems to have lost its significance. It seems to me that we have forgotten why this day was set apart, why we do the things we do. I am not going to go into the history of Halloween, or the meanings of all the rituals, in my opinion, the specifics are not important (although I think they are good), but I am going to go into the meaning behind the things. Halloween is a day to remember our ancestors. It is a day to acknowledge that we didn’t just spring out of the mud, it is a day to remember, and give thanks for, those who came before us. It is rather simple, but it is very important. We have ancestors. There are a great many people who lived before us, without whom we would have never been born. This is significant to ponder upon, it is something that should not be forgotten.
I have discovered a couple of rituals that we used to do during Halloween that we no longer do, and think we should start doing them again. One is leaving the head of the table empty for Halloween dinner. I don’t think it has to be on Halloween night, as it would probably interfere with trick or treating, it can be the day before or the day after. I sit at the head of my table every night, I think it would be good for me, humbling for me, to one night a year, leave that place of honor empty to remind me of my father, and my father’s father, and my father’s fathers father. The other ritual is the book of Halloween. It is a book that has a short biography of your ancestors. I think it would be a good idea to take this book out around Halloween and read it, and share it with your children.