I love autumn! This time last year, I spent a few weeks in America. Oh wow! The leaves, the pumpkin patches, the fall décor, the pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin muffins, pretty porches… America knows how to do autumn! It was beautiful.
We miss out on a lot of that in Ireland, and go straight to Halloween. In the ‘old days’, as kids, we’d throw on bedsheets, and go down to the neighbours’ trick or treating, expecting a few modest treats, and without the slightest thought of a trick.
Today, things have changed, and it’s not just because now I’m a mother, or someone who doesn’t watch films rated more than a 12. Halloween is no longer fun, it’s scary. Treats are bigger. So are tricks. Halloween has become humongous, super-commercial, sexier and scarier. More frightening than fun. Shops have gruesome Halloween displays in their windows, supermarket aisles are littered with broomsticks and blood. At the end of a recent shopping trip, I found myself waiting in line behind the cannibalistic serial killer, Hannibal Lecter. OK, obviously not Hannibal Lecter, but a young boy (perhaps 8 or 9?) with a Hannibal Lecter mask on. Speechless.
Reflecting on the Halloween madness, I didn’t know how to approach it with my daughter until today, when I read a friend’s social media update. It went something like this: “Can’t wait for Halloween to be over, roll on 1st November”. A little bell went off in my head. November 1st… All Saints Day… followed by All Souls day. But that’s what it’s really about!
So, while I don’t have an answer to the Halloween problem, I’m going to start by telling my little girl stories of the saints (so many amazing stories!), lighting candles, and praying for our family and friends who have passed away, during November. We’ll enjoy the season and do autumn crafts and saint crafts, collect leaves and conkers, and maybe even toast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate. Hopefully, with God’s grace, we’ll keep the ghouls and zombies at bay and maybe, in a few years, she’ll dress up as one of her role-models, or maybe even her favourite saint…