31 October 2013

Happy Samhain - All Hallow Eve Blessings!!

I simply love this time of year!

Memories of my childhood press in on me.  Not of Trick or Treating, as we did not do that.  Where we lived the houses set on huge tracks of land, 20 to 100 acres or more each, so going from house-to-house would have been an all day and night project!  The mothers (and a few dads) began donating their time to turning the school into a Halloween Festival every year.  On stage in the auditorium, Mummers and Minstrels would put on a show, and the whole building was transformed into a spooky wonderland. 

At 4PM the kids, dressed in their costumes, would hurry back to school,.  There was something oddly magical about being inside the school at night, slightly taboo, vaguely sinister.  Once the classes were organized, there was a parade through the whole town.  Often, kids with ponies would ride them as part of their costumes.  The parade would wander back to the school, and then everyone went up on the stage by class, and the audience could clap for the best costumes for each homeroom.

 Before the children glimpsed the magic in the basement rooms and gymnasium, there was a turkey dinner for everyone in the school cafeteria.  Our kitchen staff was super cooks and it was always a favorite event in the village.  After that, the gym would be opened up and the awe of wonderland would unfold.  It had been decked out with hay-bales, pumpkins, crepe paper, dried cornstalks and orange and yellow lights.  There were various booths for games of chance - a cake-walk, bean bag toss, even bobbing for apples.  A band was brought in to play music.  Monster Mash was always much requested.  In one room, they had set up a projector that screened cartoons with a Halloween theme.  Another was given over to a professional Punch and Judy style puppet and marionette show.  Each year the honor fell to the eighth grade kids to create a haunted house, back in the storage rooms that were rarely used.  And boy did they!  I recall, when I was eleven, they gave me NIGHTMARES with their gruesome scenes of torture!  Bingo was held down in the far wing for those seeking quieter entertainment.  There was simply something for everyone to enjoy.  

The love at the holiday festival spun my Shoes, Shades and Faerydust short story.

When I was 12 was one of the best ones the parents had put on.  The night was glorious. Sadly, after that it was decided that parents were too busy to bother.  They kept on with the turkey dinner and the parade, but it was never the same.  Something very precious and innocent was lost to going around begging for candy.

So this day, I will enjoy the kids coming to the door in their costumes, smile at their pleasure, yet I will feel sad they are denied the childhood magic I so enjoyed when I was their age.

Happy All Hallow's Eve

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