I don't know about anyone else, but Hallowe'en has always been my favourite festival. Growing up we were never allowed to go Trick or Treating since my dad felt that it was just an American idea without any merit. He'd turn his nose up, and say that it was just an excuse for parents to have other people feed their kids. Gluttony, he'd say, was the root of it all.
Anyway, he wasn't much fun and I think he missed the point.
My understanding is this:
Hallowe'en, or All Hallow's Eve, is the darkest night before the saints return on All Saint's Day - the festival that's all but forgotten that comes the next day. I'm not sure where they return from or to, but in any case they show up shining with holy light, defending goodness and purity and generally keeping evil at bay for another year. All of the above is cool, and I do believe that the saints function as a pantheon much as superheroes do for contemporary popular culture (Batman as Justice, Superman as Righteousness, Hulk as Strength, Stark as Intellect/ Hubris a la Prometheus) and I'm a big fan of those things. I like the idea of the good guys winning, and evil being possible to overcome in spite of evidence to the contrary. However, this thread is about what comes before that.
The shadows have accumulated. The spirits and the demons have become restless and arrogant. The veil between the living and the dead, the corporeal and incorporeal, wakefulness and dreams, is suddently fragile. Insusbstantial. At this time, those lurkers on the threshold press to be admitted into our world. The air is a little more chill. The glimmer against the night sky might just be something other than a star or a street light; and was that truly just the wind just now?
So we have the children dress up as evil spirits and give them sweeties in the hopes that they'll leave us in peace for another year; bribe them away from bedevilling us for another year. Fires burn, pumpkins and fashioned into death's heads and for an evening we remember that we are all beholden to mortality, and that our actions might be remembered by something that listens when no one else is near. I think it's a lovely thing. A chance to remember our own shortcomings, the fleeting nature of life, and those who have gone before. Yet, it isn't a sombre affair. It should be a time of dancing and merriment, when we acknowledge all of those elephants in the room; we take them by their bony trunks (do trunks have bones?) and dance with them just for one evening.
So finally, we come to the thread title.
My Perfect Hallowe'en would involve a hearty open fire, family and friends gathered close. A meal of cold meats and seasonal/ festive snacks. There'd be drinks of course too. Then, around the fire, spooky stories would be exchanged by those assembled, whether written especially for the occasion or else remembered. Whether tired tales of hooks buried in car doors, tragic romances lingering after death, gruesome vengeance against corrupt officials, all would be listened to and there'd be fear and laughter and applause. Then, there'd be a knock at the door and a host of devils would come dressed up and ask in their scariest little voices for a bribe and all the adults would humour them and each offer a little treat or trinket, before the next group came around. Finally, before the end of the nigh, a group of adults would don costumes of their own, fingers over lips, and wait for the trick or treaters to appear before leaping out at them, sending them scattering. The children would flee to their beds, swearing to their parents that they had met a whole host of ghosts and monsters out in the night, but they fought them off... before asking for the light to stay on.
So then, people of Elliquiy: How off am I in my recollection? More importantly, what would be your perfect Hallowe'en? Thanks for listening :)