Apparently the celebration of this holiday is spreading from America to Europe and encroaching upon All Saints' Day, somewhat to the concern of the official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. There's an article in the latest edition headlined "Hallowe'en's Dangerous Messages", which quotes a Spanish priest as saying, "Hallowe'en has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.... Parents should be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death." Fine with me; if I had kids I wouldn't want them seeing some of the gruesome evil-looking displays people are building on their front lawns now. So instead, here are some pictures I got in an email forward today.
The teabag is adorable but I think I must give the edge to the turtle. :)
Here's how Halloween went for me when I was a kid. On the appointed day I'd wait impatiently for sundown, then pull on that pink ballerina dress (a hand-me-down from my sister) that got tighter every year. Halloween was not a holiday that inspired my mom, so my siblings and I didn't usually have new costumes or fancy plastic buckets to put our candy in. Instead we yanked the pillowcases off our pillows to use as candy sacks. That was the far superior method anyway; you can hardly fit anything in those silly little pumpkins.
Once everything was ready, the four of us set off together to troll the neighborhood (our parents were cool enough to let us go without them). We knocked wherever a light was on. Almost all the houses participated, and when the people weren't home they often left bowls of candy on the porch for us to help ourselves. We'd keep trick-or-treating till weariness overcame greed. I remember being so tired and footsore, and wondering if I'd even make it home, and yet there was always regret when I thought of the streets we hadn't gotten to. But we'd limp home with our heavy pillowcases and gratefully sit down on the living room rug. And then came that glorious moment of dumping out our sacks and gazing upon our mountains of candy, and sorting the loot, and trading for our favorite kinds (mine were Kit Kats and Smarties.) Halloween candy lasted my siblings till Thanksgiving. I seem to recall that mine disappeared faster than that.
Around age fifteen I gave up trick-or-treating with regret. By that time even I had to admit that I was too darn old for it, but I never outgrew that thrill of getting free candy at every door. What a fun custom for a neighborhood to have. :)