“Trick or Treat!”
they shout
as the door opens
and they hold open their bags.

“I’ve got the treats.
What trick or song or dance or joke or riddle can you give?” 

Happy faces on accompanying parents.

And then the jokes come.
The dancing feet tap.
The songs erupt.
The riddles come forth:
“Why is a seagull called a seagull?
Because it flies over the sea
and if it flew over a bay
it would be called a bagel.”

A little girl, about three
recites her numbers in Spanish.
A little boy says
“I remember you and this house.
I’ve got my joke ready for you!” 

And he did!

In some parts of the world, this night begins
the ancient Christian three-day observance of Allhallowtide
predated from Celtic harvest festivals such as Samhain
designed as a time to remember those who have died.

For some, Hallowe’en is a secular celebration
… trick-or-treating
… carving pumpkins
… apple bobbing
… visiting haunted attractions.


For some, it’s part of their Christian religious observance
… attending church services on All Saints Day
… lighting candles in remembrance of loved ones
… visiting graves.

Whether secular or religious
Hallowe’en is a reminder that
death is a reality for all
and reminder that death need not be feared.

As the children leave with treats in their bags
… and smiles on their faces
I close the door
turn out the lights
reflect on the innocence
the wonder
the fun of the night
in the faces of the children and their accompanying parents.

I extinguish the candle
inside the zendoodled pumpkin
with a wee prayer of gratitude
that a spirituality of play is still celebrated
as “shadows of a thousand years
rise again, unseen
and voices whisper in the trees
“tonight it’s All Hallow’s Eve!”



Photo & Text © June Maffin

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