wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Blue Moon on Halloween

30 Comments

No, the moon is not blue. More like blurry, because of the clouds. But it is called a blue moon (and many other names) when a full moon happens twice in one month. The moon would have to be full on the first and the thirty-first of a month, and that would make it a relatively rare occurrence.

This time, it happens to be on October 31st, Halloween.

Halloween will be different this year because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. Trick-or-treating is being discouraged, and to be honest, I don’t want the munchkins coming to my door, no matter how sweet their costumes are. I don’t want to be picking up the virus at the door and then passing it on to my elderly family members.

The kids can have fun in other ways, just this once, until we get the virus under control. I know that missing out on trick-or-treating is survivable because I’ve done it.

So here is my story.

When I was very young, we lived in Germany. On All Saints’ Eve (what we call Hallowed Eve – or Halloween here in North America), my mother took me by the hand and we visited the town cemetery. My grandfather, who had died of cancer at the young age of 75, was buried there. I loved my grandfather and he loved me, so there was nothing spooky about going to visit his resting place. Several other village people were also visiting the graves of loved ones, and most brought candles in coloured glass containers to place on the graves. The cemetery was neat and well kept up. With the many lights glowing on the graves, the whole place was peaceful. I remember feeling close to my beloved grandfather and in awe of the pretty lights. The hushed conversation of other visitors showed their respect for their lost loved ones.

We came to Canada soon after that, when I was six years old. The following year, on Halloween, I heard about all the kids going out trick-or-treating. This would be fun! But my enthusiasm had cold water thrown on it when my mother laid down the law and said, “No child of mine is going door to door begging for candy.”

“But it’s not like that,” I whined. No amount of fussing would change her mind. For the next four years she stuck to her guns and our family became the weird ones that didn’t believe in Halloween.

By the time I was 11, she relented. She was beginning to understand that it wasn’t about begging. My younger brother and I were allowed to go out to a few houses on the block to trick-or-treat.

On the afternoon of the 31st, the radio told of a severe windstorm that was due to hit at six p.m. We didn’t really believe it. Not a breath of wind. We put on our costumes and got our goodie bags ready. As we tried to go out the door at six o’clock, we wondered why it wouldn’t open. We pushed against it and had to get our mother to help. As soon as she opened the door, it ripped out of her hand and slammed against the side of the house. The big windstorm had hit us at exactly 6 p.m. My mother yanked us back inside lest we might blow away, and pronounced, “You can’t go out in this. It’s too dangerous.”

Fast forward to the next Halloween when I was 12. I had grown into a tall skinny girl, but inside that gangly body lived a child who had yet to experience trick-or-treating. We trooped out with our goodie bags, anticipation ratcheted up into high gear. At the first house, we called “Trick or treat.” The owner came to the door and said to me, “Getting a bit old to be doing this, aren’t you? It’s supposed to be for little kids.”

I was glad I had a mask on so he couldn’t see me fighting not to cry.

I never went trick-or-treating again, and I suppose I have a warped idea of what Halloween is about. When I see scary spiders, monsters, ghosts and vampires flitting around neglected cemeteries, it is not something I find easy to relate to. My grandfather’s cemetery was clean and cared for. It had a manicured hedge and clean gravel paths between well-tended graves. It was not a scary thing to visit him. The North American version of Halloween jarred when I compared it to my first experiences of All Saints’ Eve.

Still, customs vary, and I’ve learned to accept that Halloween is not all bad. Most people love it and they are not easily scared by the horror they conjure up to celebrate this holiday.

I don’t like horror shows. They give me nightmares. I’m a wimp. I don’t begrudge others having fun, but I find it hard to get into the creepy spirit.

A tame Halloween is fine for me. Give me the pumpkin pie and a taste of that chocolate bar from the goodie bag, but keep the spiders away from me.

If you’d like to see posts on copy-editing horrors, please visit my other blog.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

30 thoughts on “Blue Moon on Halloween

  1. Halloween was never a big thing for me, even as a child, although I have good memories of one Halloween when I was quite young, maybe 6 or 7. I think it has become rather overblown now, but maybe that’s because I’ve never been all that interested in it. Don’t like clowns, either, so maybe it’s something to do with the costumes.
    Have a good evening. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I strongly dislike bloody, gore movies too, Anneli. No thanks. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with Halloween. I don’t think the trick-or-treat thing will happen much this year, so sad for the children.

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  3. Even when I was a kid, I was never big on Halloween. Sure I like the candy, but I was never in dressing up in costumes, scary movies, and everything that went along with the night.

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  4. Oct 31 is certainly marked differently around the world, interesting to learn of different traditions. I loved the dressing up and the candy but wasn’t too keen on the really scary stuff.

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  5. Hi Anneli, Halloween is in full swing right now with a great deal of fireworks nearby. I don’t know whether sparks can land on the house and cause a fire? In our neighbourhood, almost all of the homes have decided to not do the trick or treating thing. Except for the fireworks. An interesting story about your upbringing. I am all for a tame Halloween, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everything you’ve just said is what is happening here right this minute and I have the same concerns. I wonder if the ground is wet enough to put out any sparks. I’ll be glad when this night is over. No trick or treaters this year because of the virus. A lot of darkened houses, and for good reason.

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      • I think I live in your neck of the woods, Anneli. Victoria (near VGH) A different vibe this year. And, yes, we made a family decision to be safe and help keep everyone healthy.

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        • Not too far, compared to other bloggers. I’m in Comox. Lots of people (most, I think) are not doing the door to door thing this time. Too risky. Home parties, yes, Fireworks out in the streets, yes, But no trick or treat knocking on doors. More important to get a handle on this bug first.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I never could , and still can’t, get my head around this whole Halloween thing. Never celebrated when I was growing up in Finland. And here in Australia is only just beginning to creep in. We have never had any kids turn up at the door dressed up trick or treating.

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  7. I grew up in Switzerland and never heard of Halloween until we moved to Canada. I am not a fan of Halloween!

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  8. Loved to read about your background, Anneli. I don’t like horror shows either.

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  9. I am another one that never liked Halloween. I don’t like gory movies and have never watched them. I didn’t enjoy getting dressed up for Halloween as a kid. The only holiday I enjoy is Thanksgiving. It’s a day of quiet, comfort and thankful thoughts and memories. And for us it is a pot of chicken and homemade noodles. Love the tradition of putting candles in colored glass containers on the graves. A lovely tribute.

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  10. Ah, gotta love mothers. I think I stopped my kids from trick-or-treating by their teens, too. But they did have quite a few years of fun to think back on. What did you do with your kids?

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  11. Oh, Anneli! My heart is aching for you. I’m so sorry your mother didn’t understand it was not begging for candy. Missing trick-or-treating all those years is really tough. And of course, your grandfather’s cemetery was a loving peaceful place. Halloween is supposed to be fun, with costumes and of course a little scary thrown in. I feel terrible for all the children who cannot have a Halloween this year due to Covid.

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  12. Well no wonder Halloween wouldn’t be the happiest of holidays for you, with only one truly nice memory. Thank you for sharing this. It was nice to learn more about your background.

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    • The Captain always likes it because it’s his one chance to buy “good” junk candy bars and because we live a bit out of town and don’t get many (if any) trick or treaters, he gets to eat it all himself over the next days. I found Halloween to be one big headache with the kids so excited at school (when I was teaching), a time when I should have bought shares in Advil, and then in the days after the big event, when you’d think things would calm down, we had the over-sugared kids bouncing and buzzing from sugar highs over the next few days. I’m glad I’m retired!

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