Halloween today has become more about the necessity of imagination than superstitions of yesterday. It’s that time of year again where you’ll find many Christians who are convinced is a satanic holiday while the rest of the world has found their sweet spot in costumes and candy. It’s the time of year where children are allowed to dress in support of their imagination. They are awarded a day of make believe.
Straddling the line between fall and winter is where we find Halloween. It is a time of celebration for most and superstition for others. It is said to have originated with one of the ancient Celtic festivals. This was an event where people would wear various costumes and light bonfires in hopes of warding off roaming ghosts.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III allocated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The holiday became widely recognized as All Saints’ Day. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. The word “hallow” originated from the Old English word for “holy” and “e’en” is an abbreviation of “evening.” So “Halloween” represented the night before All Saints Day.
Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based holiday characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating and costumes generated from the child’s imagination.
In multiple countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with candy coated gatherings and a wide range of costumes. Halloween is a celebration that allows people of all ages to participate.
All that’s required to partake in the festivities of this playful day is an imagination.
Somewhere between our youth and adulthood we allowed ourselves to become steered away from the benefit of our imagination. We have found ourselves lodged somewhere in between compliance, restraint and normality. Being ordinary or restrained is not wrong but it can be extremely boring.
As children we felt the most carefree when we allowed our imagination to run free and wild. Then something happened; life took a turn and suddenly became complicated. As a result we found that as we matured the decision was made by society that a playful mentality had somehow become tom foolery.
If many would be honest they still have the desire to dress in another’s reality or according to their own imagination. Between the pressures of life, bills that need our attention, status quo and other “grown-up” situations we’ve simply learned to wave off the idea and bury our heads back into adulthood.
But what if life was never meant to be lived void of our imagination? Here are some advantages of playing make-believe as an adult:
- Look for the fun life has to offer: When you encounter someone who has allowed their imagination to find its way into their everyday lives you’ll find someone who is able to handle even the hardest times with a smile on their face. Unlike the rest of society they have learned to see change as an opportunity to embrace something different and learn something new. They don’t invest a great deal of time in what is; instead they allow their imagination to show them what could be.
- Very few things throw them off-center: Children rarely allow anything to spoil their fun; and when it does, it’s only momentarily. When my generation was kids and actually played board games, if pieces were missing we would make new pieces or just create new rules. It would be so liberating for many if they could just learn to get back in touch with the part of their imagination that allowed them to be happy just to have each moment.
- Imagination rules out biases: How awesome it is to just watch kids play. They pay no attention to biases, stereotypes and judgments. These things don’t exist in their world; they haven’t been infected yet. We learn these hang ups as we mature and grow up. People who are in touch with their imagination see everyone and everything in a universal light. Kids just want to play; it doesn’t matter who the potential playmate is.
I know we can’t abandon our jobs and family responsibilities to play all day. Life mandates that we work to provide for and support our families as well as ourselves. What we can do is take time out of each day to engage our imagination. Go ahead and give yourself permission to fly high, dream big and reach the top. Imagination has a way of giving our hopes new meaning and our dreams new life.
By the late 1800s Americans shifted the theory of Halloween into a holiday that is centered on community and fun events. It transitioned its focus from witchcraft and ghosts to neighborhood celebratory occasions.
Halloween parties for both children and adults have become a very common way to celebrate the holiday. Parties are filled with seasonal food, costumes, games and candy.
Due to the efforts of many parents and community leaders, Halloween has lost most of its illogical and religious overtones and is now more about imagination than superstition.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)