Today is what most of us call Halloween. Traditionally a day of dress up and candy. This year of course everything is different. I learned that most of my Halloween traditions were country specific when I moved here. Halloween isn’t really a thing here in Germany. Some families continue the tradition of dressing up and trying to find houses that honor trick or treat but it is rare here. Later on I might see a few people dressed up but nothing like when I am in the states. A dear friend yesterday who has two kids, she’s American and her partner is British, was talking about how the kids looked up just yesterday and said, “we need costumes and candy!” There was little planning unlike when I was a kid and we planned for months and months before the big day. Even then, her kids informed her that the costumes must be scary. This year they are going on a scavenger hunt instead of trick or treating. I doubt many are going trick or treating this year.
This morning as I walked the pups in the constantly drizzling I was remembering that almost every year on Halloween as a kid it would be pouring down rain in Oregon. This is typically when the constant rains start. I remember costumes covered by coats and ponchos and being drenched for the amount of time we were running from door to door. The drizzle of the morning made me feel as though it really is Halloween.
In my family we all have a tradition of watching a movie from the 80s that I was obsessed with as a kid. Now watching it, it is pretty hilarious in how 80s it truly is…the hairstyles, the songs, the quality of filming, the Bowie-ness of Tim Curry. It is a movie called “The Worst Witch.”
I have a VHS copy of this movie stored away somewhere in Oregon but I was feeling the need to watch it last night so I googled and sure enough the full version is free on youtube. There are times when I thank God for youtube and last night was one of them. I texted my family that it was on at my house. I sang along with the songs (of the highest quality) and quoted most of the lines as well. If you have never seen it at least watch Tim Curry’s big number as the grand wizard.
You won’t be sorry. It is a silly movie and a silly tradition but on All Hallows’ Eve Eve it was perfect.
So how will I celebrate today? I have put on my orange pants and a black tshirt which is about as dressed up as I will get today. I will spend the day reading, writing and zooming I am sure. I will walk the dogs and admire the changing season. I will also start to remember the Saints in my life who have gone before me because behind all of these traditions and selling points is actually a holiday that is actually about remembering our dead. My mind will turn more towards this tomorrow on All Saints day in the church world and on Monday the Day of the Dead. But Halloween actually originated from an ancient Celtic holiday to ward of ghosts with bonfires and costumes and then morphed into a time to honor saints but still held traditions of Samhain (the Celtic tradition). Beyond ghouls and ghosts, these days in the year are also a chance to remember those who have gone before us. Many people all over the world take this time to sit by their ancestors and remember how they have changed their lives, how they will be honored and bring them back to life by honoring their memory.
Tonight we delight in the spooky but tomorrow we honor the saints. Who are the Saints you are starting to think of?