The Steele report

There is one celebration that nearly every institution has tried in vain to stomp out. Halloween goes back in one form or another to a time prior to civilization itself. It was a more serious affair being as it was part of the passage of the human soul into the afterlife. Yes Halloween drips with the trappings of pagan ritual, stolen by the early church and converted into All Souls Eve, November first being all souls day, also known as all Saints Day.

Other societies have the feast of the dead, ghost suppers and one more closely aligned with our tradition – Guy Fawkes Night.  Who was Guy Fawkes? His attempt and unsuccessful act is part of the folklore of tricks and fireworks. Guy Fawkes hatched a plot to use gun power to blow up the King in the early sixteen hundreds.

There are lots of celebrations from around the world associated with Halloween. Some religious groups associate the night in question with death and the devil. Over time they attempted to rid themselves of the holiday by associating it with witches, ghosts, evil spirits, black magic, and even the superstition of black cats. This has proved to be a very difficult task eliminating Halloween. The more they heaped abuse upon the event the more popular it became. For the church it is sort of like having a hangnail you can’t get rid of. If you stomp our All Hallows Eve you diminish All Saints Day. For the consumer market today, it would cause millions of job losses. Costumes, candy, decorations, fireworks, books and stories, movies— well you get the picture.

There have been modern attempts to change the image with name changes in schools. A couple of years ago the education system tried to re-brand it as Orange and Black Day. That was about as successful as that fools errand documentary reefer madness most kids in my day were subjected to.

The fact is regardless of what religion or creed we belong to they all have a day of the dead in some fashion. We have kids going out for trick or treat and Halloween Parties and the annual celebration carries on. Now and then I hear the Halloween night festivity is losing its luster. For those my age and I am a senior we would look silly going out for trick or treats wouldn’t we?

Yes there is a lot of noise, trick or treating, costumes and those who want to end it all. Face it the kids have a night of fun. Even the garden gnomes get into the act taking the lawn furniture from around the neighborhood and putting them on one lawn or soaping a few windows perhaps unrolling toilet paper around people trees. Too bad there are no outhouses to push over. Come to think of it one Halloween Night we pushed an outhouse over not knowing my friends mother had gone over for a visit a neighbor and she was in it. Halloween is a spooky night for kids to have fun and have a few treats. I hope you get a chance to remember some of the adventures you had as a child. Enjoy the night and taste test the children s candy. One more thing “Happy Halloween”

Fred Steele

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