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  • Marilyn Young

Love or Fear on All Hallows’ Eve

As Halloween or Hallowe'en approaches, my thoughts go back to my days as a child in the Catholic school system. As all of us became more excited at the approach of the day when we could “dress up” in amazing costumes (home made in those days!), we were reminded by our

teachers that the more important days to observe was the church holiday of All Saints Day on Nov 1 and All Souls’ Day on Nov 2. Like many Christian holy days, the eve before is also of importance – hence Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve. This is a time in the church calendar dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, martyrs, and all the departed. (Source: Wikipedia) Somehow though, the significance of those latter two days was lost on most of us as we prepared for trick or treating.

It is interesting to look at the origin of some of our modern day practices around Halloween. Trick or treating began as a Germanic or Celtic tradition dating back to the 15th century. Early rituals included ringing church bells or town criers travelling the streets dressed in black ringing a bell and calling upon the living to remember those who had died but had not yet reached heaven. During this time the poor, and especially children, went door to door collecting soul cakes (baked goods) in exchange for praying for the dead. While they were out, they would

carry “lanterns made of hollowed out turnips” originally said to represent the souls of the dead. It was believed that the souls of those who had passed were earth bound until All Saints' Day. Halloween, the eve before, was the last chance for the departed to take vengeance on their enemies before moving on. In order to avoid

being recognized by a vengeful soul, people would wear masks or costumes and carry jack-o-lanterns to ward off evil spirits. Halloween is also linked to the Gaelic festival Samhain, a time when the boundary between our reality and the realm of 'spirits' or 'fairies', could be more easily crossed. Costumes were also meant to imitate the dead or those spirits or fairies so one could avoid being captured and taken back to the spirits’ realm. Halloween parties are said to have their roots in an early European (notably French) tradition of dressing in costume and enacting the danse macabre – a time when the dead are said to rise from the grave for a “hideous carnival.” While some feared the wandering souls, others lit candles in their windows and set a place at the table to welcome the return of a departed loved one on the one night of the year when the veil was so thin their return was believed possible.

What are your beliefs and practices around Halloween? Is it a time of fear or celebration? Is it all about the “spookiness” or does it hold a different meaning for you? Or are you like me when my children were young and haven’t thought past what type of costume you could construct for them or how long you could hold your spouse off from eating all the candy you had purchased to hand out!? Yes, I have to admit, it has been many years since I have thought about Halloween as a time to honor or fear the dead. Rather, it has been a time of fun and creativity, making costumes, and enjoying the excitement of the little ones running from door to

door in pursuit of sweet treats. This year, once the gandbabies have headed for home and we turn the lights out after the last trick or treater has come by, I think I will take a few moments to sit quietly and listen for any messages from loved ones who have passed. I know this is something we can do at any time, but perhaps with the veil between them and us being thinner more will come through.

Do you connect with loved ones on the other side either through your own gifts or those of another? Do you ever receive signs from someone who has passed? Our loved ones are often near and eager to let us know that they are OK. They know we miss them and want us to have closure. Often when they come through, there is a sense of their personality as well. For me, this is especially true for my dad who passed over thirty years ago. At the graveside ceremony

on a beautiful, calm, sunny fall day, as the priest was reading something about dad’s spirit rising to heaven, all of us felt a sudden swirling breeze rustling the leaves around us lifting them skyward. I thought that was dad saying goodbye. But he wasn’t finished yet. The next instant, we heard a cheer arise from a group of golfers on the green closest to the cemetery on the adjacent golf course. Someone had scored a hole in one. We were all certain dad had a hand in that as he loved to golf! Thanks to his loving sense of humour, we all left a potentially saddening goodbye with a smile on our faces. I know dad continues to be with me a lot. For so many years every time I would find a penny, I would think of him and know he was near. One day, picking up the penny, I jokingly said aloud,

“Gee dad, could you make it a little more than a penny?” I was thinking finding ten dollar bills would be much nicer! Well, he partially obliged – the pennies were replaced by dimes! He got the amount right but just a different denomination! That was totally just like my dad’s sense of humour. To this day, he still insists on sending me dimes.

It doesn’t take any special talent to connect with someone you hold dear who has passed to the other side. Having quiet moments and paying attention helps. Sometimes our grief will not allow us to receive any communication. Working thorough that grief by recalling your love for that person and knowing they are in a beautiful place will help. Signs from those who have passed are similar to those from our angels discussed in newsletter #1 – Touched by Angels. In addition to coins, like the dimes my dad leaves me, you may notice signs such as repeated numbers, rainbows, butterflies, or any other item or phenomena you had agreed on together as being a sign. Some people just feel an energy or “presence” around them that makes them think of the person who has passed. Be assured, they are there loving you. Some hear a sound or smell a scent that reminds them of the person. For example, I often smell cigarette smoke when my brother – in -law is near. I can’t identify a source and no one else can smell it so I am sure it is him. Some people will be thinking of a loved one and suddenly that person’s favourite

song will come on the radio. That is their way of saying “Hello, I’m here, I’m OK, I love you.” Alternatively, you may even “hear” a message from them in their voice in your head. No, you are not going crazy or hallucinating – it is really them communicating with you. Other people experience visits from their deceased loved ones in dreams. These dreams are often vivid and easily remembered. Some people experience the presence of loved ones through environmental changes such as lights flickering or hear sounds or feel an ambient temperature change that has no recognizable cause. And yes, you may even feel a physical sensation like a light touch on the arm or a hug or actually “see” the person in your mind’s eye. All these signs might be hard to fathom but they can occur. Some may be from loved ones, other from your guides or angels. Whoever comes to mind at the time is likely who is trying to communicate.

But what about the scary ghosts of Halloween you ask? The entertainment industry has filled our lives and minds with fearful examples of communication from the dead and Halloween is a time when those stories saturate our environment. It is unfortunate that “fear sells.” I am always amazed at the number of people who will pay to have themselves scared silly! Perhaps it is because fear is such an intense emotion. Personally, I would like to see more of the world replace fear with another intense emotion – love.

Fear is the voice of our ego and does have its place when it provides a healthy warning to keep us safe, such as the flight or fight response initiated when we come across a venomous snake! Today, however, much of how we live our lives is from fear based beliefs and thoughts that affect how we look at everything. Can you think of fear based thoughts, beliefs, and actions in your own life? Do you fear the dead? Why? What is that fear based on?

When communicating with your passed loved ones there is nothing to fear. As the universal

law states “Like attracts like.” Whatever we feel in our heart we attract. Love is a higher vibration and attracts the same kind of vibration, a loving vibration of energy. Conversely, fear breeds fear and is a lower vibration. To deal with fear, remember that love can replace fear just as the light replaces the dark. You do have freedom of choice and can choose the emotion you want to experience. So being mindful and taking an inventory of the thoughts and energy you put out into the world can help you maintain a positive, loving focus in life where anything of a lower vibration simply passes you by. Remember too, your angels and guides are always with you ready to help you connect with your loved one and to keep positivity in your life.

What of the other Halloween traditional beliefs and practices? Is there a concern about the historical stories of the spirits and fairies crossing into our reality? Fairies are part of the elemental realm and are also known as nature spirits or guardians. Their purpose, along with other elementals, is to safeguard the Earth, the environment, and animals. They have no

predatory role in looking to abduct people to take back to their realm. They respond to love and gratitude and are playful. It is said that animals and small children can see and interact with the elementals. Did you ever have an “imaginary friend” or do you know a child who has one? Could it be the friend is a playful elemental? Is Halloween the last night deceased souls walk the earth before they cross over? I have to say, this is not my experience. The few times I have had the honour of helping the deceased find the light to pass over from the earthly plan, it was at the time that was meant for us to connect and no where near Halloween. I believe when a soul is ready to transition, they will. Some may need a bit of help or encouragement to find the light but with love and support, they will find their way.

So now that we have looked at some of the traditional beliefs and practices for Halloween, what will your thoughts turn to on “All Hallows’ Eve”? While you are busy ushering the trick or treaters from door to door can you focus on the fun and love we still share with those who have passed versus the scary stories that give rise to fear? Will you light a candle or set a

plate at the table for a departed family member or friend that you want to hear from? Will you have a few moments to tune into any messages from a loved one on the other side? I’m sure they would love to know you are listening! In the end, however you decide to celebrate Halloween, I hope you will include remembering and honoring the dead with love in your heart. Have a Happy Halloween!

Lots of love and hugs,



If you would like to learn more about connecting with loved ones who have passed here are a few resources I have found helpful:


Collette Baron Reid

James Van Praagh

John Holland

Intuitive Counselling and Angel Card Readings If you have the need for some insightful assistance on how to receive messages from your loved ones who have passed, I am offering intuitive counselling and angel card readings online or in person (in Calgary).

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