Month: October 2012


 Over the centuries, Halloween has had any number of names, interpretations, and meanings associated with it.  Whether you choose to call it ‘All Hallows Eve, The Eve of All Saints’ Day, or as in the case of modern days, Halloween, it basically boils down to one common theme—and that is the chance to wear outrageous costumes, and for one night, act out your wildest imaginative fantasy in ways that would otherwise be deemed as unacceptable or immature.  For kids, it represents a time of fun and excitement, dressing up as princesses, butterflies, and superheroes and receiving bags full of tasty treats that would make any dentist smile with glee. 

Regardless of what it has been referred to, this special evening has been considered to be one of the most magical evenings of the year.  It’s an evening of power and uninhibited fun; it’s a time when the spiritual and material worlds collide momentarily, when the veil separating the here and the hereafter is believed to be at its most narrow juncture.       

I was raised in a blue-collar neighborhood not far from Boston, Massachusetts.  When I was young, Halloween was celebrated at a time when there were no huge shopping malls and hardly any commercialization. We created simple costumes out of anything that happened to be lying around the house, and trick-or-treating was a mad dash to see how many houses we could visit in the allotted time to fill up our brown paper bags with candy. 

Our Community Center held pie-eating contests, we bobbed for apples, carved pumpkins, and sometimes enjoyed hayrides.  And a local car dealership even handed out free ‘Hoodsies’ (a small paper cup filled with vanilla and chocolate ice cream, with a wooden spoon attached under the cover). 

Of course, celebrating Halloween during my adolescent years wasn’t without a modicum of mischief, either. I had certainly engaged in behavior unbecoming a responsible young man, such as throwing raw eggs at passing cars, writing on objects with shaving crème, taking pumpkins from front porches and rolling them down hilly streets, breaking them into many pieces, and even taking candy from other trick-or-treaters because I was too lazy to collect my own—activities that I now regret having been part of.    

While attending Salem State College, located in ‘Witch City’ of Salem Mass, where Halloween is a serious, week-long ritual, I was indoctrinated as to the historical significance of this esteemed observance each year.  It could best be described as a homecoming where thousands of ghouls and goblins descend upon this north shore community to share camaraderie for a common, fun-filled purpose. 

Whether you believe in ghosts or the supernatural is irrelevant; what’s most important is that you make Halloween a safe and fun celebration for all!






Autumn in New England

There’s something about autumn in New England that truly speaks to me.  As such, it’s one of my favorite seasons of the year.  Similar to a nocturnal animal that creeps quietly into the night, it arrives unsuspectingly and without notice, no fanfare or announcements made.  Before you know it, autumn swoops down with its burst of cool, crisp air that invigorates your being and cleanses the soul.    

Autumn is a time of preparation and regeneration; it is also a time when the celestial clock compels us to conform to the unavoidable laws of nature, willingly or not.  The days grow shorter; activity slows down. Deciduous trees shed their leaves in a vivid display of color composed of red, green, gold, orange and brown. Dried leaves crunch under foot, and the aroma of a wood pile burning in an open field wafts about.  Outside, wild animals begin the process of hibernation and plants slowly become dormant. There is a distinct feel in the air; it is almost as if I were riding the Jet-Stream as it ushers arctic air from north to south.  It feels cool, but not cold; it is refreshing, but not intoxicating.   

Apple-picking, pumpkin-carving, hayrides, and pie-eating contests are all but a prelude to the ghosts and goblins soon to descend upon sleepy New England cities and towns.  Not long after the passing of “All Hallows Eve” we’ll be sitting at a table with loved-ones and friends, giving thanks for the blessings in our lives.  That annual ritual will be followed by the celebration of the yuletide, as the landscape, like clockwork, transforms to a blanket of pure white snow and ice crystals.           

Although the arrival of the fall season signals the conclusion of summer, I hold no regrets about this change.  To me, it represents a new beginning. It’s a time to consider not what is or what has been, but what could be.  And with that, I welcome autumn with a strong sense of optimism.  It is a humble optimism, one rooted in knowing that the best is yet to come; and for that I am eternally grateful.