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  • Elisa Brazell

WHAT DOES HALLOWEEN MEAN TO YOU?

I celebrate Halloween as do most of the people I know in my great state of Utah. If you are celebrating with me, may your Halloween be filled with the friendly sociality of neighbors, the warm light of Jack o lanterns, and the excitement of costumed kids.

These are some of the lovely aspects of this holiday, wouldn't you say?

I have to admit, recently, I have been mentally working through the way we celebrate Halloween and testing it against my personal beliefs.

All year I try to fill my life with light. I seek out the good, positive uplifting things in the world.

I've been starting to think Halloween's focus on the gorey, dark, evil side is feeling a little clashy with what I'm trying to accomplish in my home and life.

This wonderment started last year, which drove me to do research on the origins of Halloween. I found that jack-o-lanterns were used to scare away evil spirits on All Hallow's Eve. Ok. That makes sense. ➡ But how do all these scary, evil scenes we create in our yards scare evil away? Would they not attract more evil by increasing FEAR, which would drive the Holy Ghost away and leave us more vulnerable to the workings of Satan? The only thing that scares the dark away is light. After doing some more research this year, I learned that both the celtic Samhain and the Mayan's ancestor celebration, which morphed into Dia de los Muertos" , Day of the dead, were all about this time of year in October/early November, being characterized by the belief there was a thin "veil" between our world and the spirit world, or a portal being open these last few days of October.


Both cultures welcomed their ancestors and honored and celebrated their lives. I have decided this is what has been missing from my Halloween celebration. I did a few little activities with my family to honor our ancestors:

  • In teams, we had to put the ancestor cards I had printed into a pedigree, only with names and dates to go from.


To prepare Ancestor cards, I

1. Snapped a picture of the "details" view of each ancestory from my Family Tree app from the screen of my phone.

2. I then created a google document, using the docs app on my phone, and created a 4x5 chart.

3. I inserted the photos into each square and cropped them.

4. I printed the cards and cut them.


  • We played "Go to Heaven" (Go Fish) with our 4 sets of ancestor cards.



  • We finished our ancestor focus by watching the Disney movie "Coco" with the whole family. It was perfect!

We can't forget those who lived before us. We are here because of them. And we will see them again. I believe our ancestors are still a part of our lives on the other side of the veil- that they help us and watch over us, and it will be worth the effort for us to get to know them. Next year I plan to continue find an excellent balance between

  • honoring our ancestors, probably with a little "offrenda" style area in my hallway with pictures of our ancestors. ​​​​​​​

  • the best parts of Halloween- the light filled parts- lit up jack-o-lanterns, fires, mingling with neighbors, friends and family, a few sweets (but not too many!)

  • fall harvest decor, and hygge, the art of being cozy and comfortable (more on that new favorite in another message)


What are your favorite parts of this harvest season? Do you celebrate Halloween? Day of the Dead? Samhain? Something else? A mixture?

Leave a comment and share your favorite tradition of this weekend!

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