Old Mother Hubbard is not scary, but my mom dressed me up as her one Halloween anyway. With a grey mophead tied up on my head, some small pillows stuffed in my old lady dress for a bust, and a big one for a bottom, she jammed a small stuffed dog under my arm and said, “there it is complete, you look darling!” I felt stupid. But, off I went anyway to the church costume contest, where the kids all said, Old Mother Hubbard is not scary! “Yea, I know” I mumbled.
When I became a mom, I vowed to let my kids dress up as they wanted. Two of my kids went for the scary theme along with their dad, and my middle child wanted to be a princess. Dad was having none of that and said, “your princess costume needs blood on it, princesses are not scary,” whereupon he began chasing her around the house with a bottle of fake blood. Traumatized by my own childhood I snapped, “leave her alone!” She does not want blood dripping down her dress and face!
One Halloween, we lived in a neighborhood where all the houses were decorated for Halloween, beautifully carved pumpkins, and cute scarecrows on the front lawns. I had the Little Shop of Horrors at my house because my husband was that guy, Halloween had to be scary! Horse puckie I say! Once I saw a couple dressed up as an ear, and the other was a Q-tip. Another time a man was dressed as a German soldier, but was holding a shepherd’s staff. “I am a German Shepherd” he proudly stated. I admire clever costumes.
Inquiring minds eventually wonder…. “Why am I doing this? what exactly is Halloween anyway besides costumes and candy?” Catholics always explain it as All Hallows Eve, but that does not really answer the question. Hallow means Holy, and Saints are Holy or Hallowed. Furthermore, when we say the Lord’s prayer we say, “Hallowed be thy name,” not Howard be thy name! Breaking down the word Halloween even further, “een” is an old way of saying evening, thus, a Holy evening. This Holy Evening is why Catholics have an All-Saints Day, and an All Souls Day for those who have gone before and cooperated with God’s Grace, evangelizing the world and working for the salvation of so many souls. Pope Gregory III in the 700’s dedicated as All Saints day November 1st, and later Pope Gregory IV dedicated November 2nd as All Souls Day, a day in which we pray for those who have passed, yet are still in Purgatory on their way to Heaven.
That still does not explain the costumes and candy, but what you can do is dress up how YOU want, and not what your parents want, even if you’re 50 years old. Yes, its time to put your foot down and do it your way! Halloween does not have to be scary nor filled with only candy. Might I suggest that this year, do Halloween a little different. When the kids lift up their treat bags, give them a treat for a lifetime! Drop a candy wrapped in a prayer in honor of the souls who have gone before. You just might start a truly eye-popping moment for that fortunate family