All Hallows Eve

By Matt Heusser

It was a beautiful October day at the Lion’s Park. With the older children in school, Sally took her kindergarten-aged daughter Samantha to meet up with her friend Jane, and Jane’s three year old son Bobby. Both had middle school aged children and had homeschooled until fifth grade. The two could not look more different, but were best of friends. Where Sally was tall and lanky, Jane was short and stout. Jane wore a shiny blue top with a small broach. Jane’s brown top and common blue jeans seemed designed to make her disappear into the fall woodwork of the park. Given the park was made of stained brown wood in the shape of the castle, that seemed entirely possible.

Pushing her youngest on the swing, Jane saw Sally and waved her over. As the two youngest were on the swings together, Jane exhaled a sigh. “It’s that time of year again.”

“What do you mean, October? Don’t you love the leaves changing?”

“No, not just October. Halloween. The one day a year where the Devil is celebrated. All. Hallows. Eve.”

“Wait, what?”

“I hate the whole day. We’ll turn our porch light off. I wish we could just disappear. You know Greg wants the kids to participate in trunk or treat at the church this year right? I can’t believe it.”

“So Jane, you’re saying that Halloween … uh … all hallows eve … is bad?”

“Of course it is. Witches, goblins, orcs, ogres. Skeletons. Vampires. All evil, death or dead things.”

Sally’s youngest, Samantha, gave her mother a surprised look. “I’m going to be a princess! But I don’t like those scary things.” Sally lifted her out of her swing and said “Why don’t you go play on the slide for a minute?”

Once Samantha walked away and Sally gave her a wave, she turned to her friend “You’re right that Halloween is the eve of something – it is the eve of the day of all holiness, called All Saints day in the catholic calendar. The next day is all souls day. The three put together make up Trivium of all saints.”

“Where did you read that, Sally, Wikipedia? It’s all hallows eve. ALL. HALLOWS. Come on.”

Sally looked at her surprised. “Hallowed is a good thing. It means Holy.”

“That’s the craziest thing I have ever heard, Jane. Hallowed is EVIL. Why would you ever think a thing like that?”

“Well, when you put your kids to bed that one night, I heard you saying The Lord’s prayer, right? Certainly you believe in that.”

“Of course. What’s the connection?”

“The words. Our father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. You called God’s name Hallowed. How can it be evil?”

“That’s totally different, Jane. And you know it!”

At this, Jane’s jaw dropped. She had no idea what to say. Sally just kept talking.

“I’m surprised you like Halloween, but not that much. I mean, you named your daughter after a witch, you know. Samantha. The mom on bewitched. You Catholics are so inconsistent!”

“She’s named after Samantha of Clonberey. Samantha is an Irish saint from the eighth century. I’m more concerned about you though – doesn’t Greg teach the tooth fairy, too?”

“You’re right about Greg, Sally. He really does insist we put the kids teeth under the pillow, and lie to them that some magical spirit that is not an angel will come to buy their own decaying bones. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”

“How am I right?”

“I might just need to get a divorce.”

Matt Heusser is a member of the American Society of Journalists and authors and also the managing director of a Excelon Development, which is a small consulting company. After converting to Catholicism and teaching Sunday school for twelve years, he still allows his children to dress up on the last day of October and beg for Candy. Matts bio picture includes him with his youngest Daughter, Julie. His pet peeves include uncharitable black-and-white thinking and also the use of archaic idioms such as pet peeves.” Does Matt contradict himself? Well, then, he contradicts himself. He is vast; he contains multitudes.