By Rebekah Reineke
Halloween: since the first time I was allowed to celebrate it has been, and always will be my favorite holiday.
Growing up, my family made us turn off all of the lights and refused to answer the door for any knocks of trick-or-treaters. I remember looking out my window as a child and feeling so much envy for all the fun the neighborhood children in costume were having.
Now that I am an adult and have spent time in a coven throughout my spiritual experiences, Halloween—or Samhain—and the entire season surrounding it, is what I look forward to all year. I make and ingest everything pumpkin spice (or apple cider related) with such joy during this month, because unfortunately, like the beautiful colors of October leaves, it’s all seasonal.
As someone with sensory issues, being able to start wearing my comfy cozy clothes while drinking apple cider or having a pumpkin ale, makes my heart sing, despite the extra pounds I might put on during the month of October. I didn’t grow up celebrating holidays and no longer have any blood family I am really in contact with, so holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t hold any sort of special meaning for me. Nor do they bring any vivid memories of childhood, outside of exclusion.
But Halloween always allows me to relive a childhood I wanted to have.
To be able to dress up however I want, without anyone but me (and maybe my husband) critiquing it, is incredibly empowering.
There was a period of my life years ago when almost everyone I was in a relationship with passed away within a short amount of time—either from health issues or overdose. Maybe because, in theory, the veil is thinner during this time of the year, I feel closer to the many people I loved that I have lost to death.
Although some may meet their seasonal depression this time of year, I am the exact opposite.
Summer has always been stifling in its heat and I’ve found it more filled with tragedy than any other time of year. Perhaps this is because there is more activity going on during the summer with people in general, or because for the majority of the summer season in the Pacific Northwest, we are constantly surrounded by smoke from area wildfires. Any depression I might have dissipates the first day that the weather hits below 60 degrees.
For me, October is the most perfect month of the year.
Perhaps I’m not alone in the belief that this season. All of its spiritual and transitional meaning is special and can bring together communities of individuals for whom other holidays might hold some sort of familial difficulties. It marks the final hurrah before the expectations otherwise involved in the holiday season take over for the rest of the year.
I find that I always click with individuals who also have Halloween as their favorite holiday. Many of us understand the connection of the old ways of Paganism into our more modern culture.
During this time, we give treats to strangers who come to us expressing themselves in all their uniqueness and give of ourselves without much expectation. To me, Halloween is the perfect way for me to express my inner child and welcome all others embracing theirs. In accepting strangers and neighbors as they are—however they choose to present themselves—I feel I’m able to offer the compassionate practice of giving and being of service.
If we could always be of such commitment to one another without any sort of expectation, but just for the glee of it all, what a wonderful world it would be.
Rebekah Reineke can usually be found reading, writing, or streaming shows at home with her husband and two cats. She was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, explored Wicca, and was involved in working with a number of nonprofits surrounding Buddhist Recovery. Currently she is exploring Applied Non-Duality and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She is certified as a group facilitator and community and workplace traumatologist.