Yesterday my road was filled with witches, ghouls, pumpkins, Potters and Hermiones. Soaked by the torrential rain, they battled on, shouting 'Trick or Treat' enthusiastically and filling their cauldrons with candy. In my usual zombie witch guise (not terribly different to my day to day look, according to some members of my family), I feigned fright and handed over treats.
My own grandchildren appeared as a Wednesday and a Potter, and came in to admire the cobwebs, spiders, pumpkins, and my two annual Samhain companions, Batty and Ratty. They're huge, and take up far too much space in my loft, but I've had them for twenty five years and we all love them dearly.
At 8 and 9, my grandchildren properly noticed my Samhain altar for the first time. Decorated with rosemary, mugwort, oranges, stones and cones, they asked about the photos surrounding it. I explained that Samhain is a good time to remember and honour our ancestors and the people we love who are no longer with us; that the photos were of people I love, such as their Great Grandad, and that there was a candle alight for each person I was thinking of. They stood quietly for a minute or two, just watching the flames and looking at the pictures, which is an amazing feat for an 8 and 9 year old, who normally find standing still and being quiet extremely difficult. And then off they went into the rain, to continue their candy quest.
But hopefully, I've shown them another side to their Halloween, and maybe it's something they will grow to embrace. And maybe not, which is fine.
I burnt some incense I'd made - rosemary for remembrance, lavender for peace and love, cloves for protection and luck, frankincense for spiritual connection. The smoke was sweet and warm, and I spent awhile with my departed loved ones. Remembering, savouring, and feeling their love.
Still wearing the sandals and socks.