Reflection October 31, 2019

Minister’s Reflection  – Oct. 31/19 

Rev. Dave Crawford


                           “Halloween  Musings”


It was the freedom I recall most clearly!  Some of you will remember the same.  Back in the 70s we kids were basically set loose Halloween night by parents who were, frankly, probably grateful for the break!  There were instructions to be back at a certain hour, to be careful crossing the street during our trick-or-treating, and to not eat too much of what we hoped would fill up our pillow cases, but for the most part we were on our own, and it was a blast!  Of course things have changed, somewhat.  Up to a certain age parents now accompany the youngsters, and we generally understand why.  The freedom of those earlier days, however, well it was great!  All the little adventures we had while out for 3 hours at Halloween!


In Dalhousie in Calgary’s Northwest, the best Halloween handouts were always to be found at the trailer park (back then located on the land now occupied by Dalhousie Station mall).  You weren’t allowed to enter the park but at the park gate every kid got a generous paper bag full of goodies.  The more devious of my friends would alter their costume a bit and go back to the trailer park later for another bag, and maybe another! 


One year, I must have been 10 or so, my Mom had borrowed a “Batman” costume for me from one of her friends.  I was thrilled about getting dressing up as the Caped Crusader until I discovered the costume included leotards!  There was no way I was gonna wear leotards!   It became the source of a major mother/son battle, and, as I recall, we compromised in the end – no leotards but I had to wear a winter coat under my Batman “armor”. The crisis soon passed and I was on my way to meet up with some pals and gather as much Halloween loot as possible.


Tonight I’ll be joining my Mom Marjorie to hand out the treats.  I’ll be picking up some extra supplies on the way because my Mom has adopted the generous habit of giving each kid 4 or 5 treats.  I’m looking forward to it, lots of fun and lots of laughs.  Whatever Halloween brings for you tonight, I hope you enjoy it.


I’m guessing most of us are somewhat aware of the pagan and Christian roots of Halloween, but if not, here’s the short version:  there’s evidence of annual, Halloween-like observances going back to the ancient Celts.  With Roman conquest and ultimately the spread of Christianity, some of those ancient practices were melded with Christian culture and the term Halloween began to take shape. In the mid- 700’s the Church moved the celebration of All Saints Day to November 1st, the day prior eventually being assigned the term “All Saints or Hallows Eve”, which morphed into “Hallow e’en”and eventually Halloween.  All Saints was originally an observance with specific connections to the Saints of the Roman Church but has been broadened to include “saints” (those who’ve died and we believe are in heaven) as we understand the term affirmed in The Apostles’ Creed as in “the communion of saints”.  



All Saints Day continues as an important annual observance in Roman Catholicism, and Catholics are expected to attend Mass. Within Protestantism the annual day possesses less significance although it has grown somewhat in prominence in light of the ecumenical movement.  Halloween is a secular holiday and some of those old pagan habits re-emerge each year as little ghosts and goblins, etc. take the stage in the hours preceding All Saints…. Yes, that was the short version – LOL.

Happy Halloween!


Grace and Peace friends,