All Saints' Day or All Hallows' Day is a rather strange attempt by the Christian Church to hijack a holiday for Christ. Most cultures celebrate their dead on a set day of the year. The Celts had several, but November 31st, being not quite equidistant between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, has always seemed a strange date even for the Celts whose calendar has a few more seasons than the Roman one.
Halloween, the night before All Hallows', has never been Christian—in spite of the Church fathers allowing their parishoners to dress as saints. This sufferance has led to the plurality of costume modes among our youth. The pagans dressed as monsters (perhaps to scare away the evil spirits) and the Christians dressed as saints (presumably in emulation of the saints' virtues.) Nowadays we have the Monster category headed by ghosts, witches, vampires and the more modern Texas Chainsaw villain and Darth Vader. Also, the Heroes (Saints) with Supergirl, Batman and Robin. Disney characters seem to have edged out the Historical category, with Pooh and Ariel, the mermaid rather than Davey Crockett and Harriet Tubman.
We had an all-time high of 65 treat bags handed out to the children. (Some years, I have handed treats to accompanying adults just to get rid of the candy.) Everyone was well-behaved: no child left without saying "thank you." I closed up just at 8:30, because treats and children came out even just as the alarm I had set for closing went off. If there had been more children on the street, I would have pulled out my reserve goodies, but the land sharks at work will get their goodies Monday.
The word of the day for November 1, 2008 is "costume" — Pronunciation: \ˈkäs-ˌtüm, -ˌtyüm also -təm or -ˌchüm\
Etymology: French, from Italian, custom, dress, from Latin consuetudin-, consuetudo custom — more at custom
1: the prevailing fashion in coiffure, jewelry, and apparel of a period, country, or class. 2: an outfit worn to create the appearance characteristic of a particular period, person, place, or thing [Halloween costumes]. 3: a person's ensemble of outer garments ; especially : a woman's ensemble of dress with coat or jacket.
Our quote for today is from Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. “Demonology,” Lectures and Biographical Sketches (1883, repr. 1904):
Sleep takes off the costume of circumstance, arms us with terrible freedom, so that every will rushes to a deed.