For me, Halloween is no longer about costumes and candy. It’s a chance to honor the dead, all those who have influenced and touched our lives, human and non-human. Every year, my husband and I gather photos and spread them on an altar, light candles, and place family heirlooms or keepsakes along with offerings of food and drink for the departed.
Samhain is a pagan holiday celebrating the Celtic New Year that predates Halloween as we know it. It’s a day meant to honor the ancestors and the cycle of life and death.
This is the night when the gateway between
our world and the spirit world is thinnest.
Tonight is a night to call out those who came before us.
Tonight we honor our ancestors.
Spirits of our ancestors, we call to you,
and we welcome you to join us for this night.
We know you watch over us always,
protecting us and guiding us,
and tonight we thank you.
(common Samhain prayer)