Why is Halloween sensationalized with all the spook and ghoul? Folk stories conjured images of a night of restless souls seeking peace and safe passage to “the other side.” Tales were spurned of mischievous spirits allowed one night of mayhem upon the living. The eve of November 1 being a thin place between the visible and invisible world, it is easy to imagine strange visitations from those who had crossed over. People love a scary story, so All Hallow’s Eve became a perfect holiday for nightmares.

Beyond the tales of ghosts and goblins lies a helpful and meaningful idea. I cannot write about the effect of unresolved issues or painful regrets upon the dead, but I do know how it effects the living. I have witnessed the grief and trauma left in the wake of persons whose lives ended suddenly and “before their time.” The sorrow and grief can be unbearable and never-ending. I have also seen, and personally experienced, the pain left when unresolved hurt and bitterness lingers long after death. Perhaps, All Hallow’s Eve can be a night when grief, anger, hurt, sorrow, and regret can be released to allow both those who have passed to “rest in peace,” and for those who have survived them to find some peace. 

On Halloween night light a candle and offer a prayer to release lingering hurt and grief. Offer forgiveness where negative memories remain tethered to a father or mother, sister or brother, friend or associate, or even a complete stranger who committed violence against you or a loved one. Receive peace and healing where grief and sorrow linger from losing someone too early in life. Let it be a night when some peace and healing can come to unresolved hurt and grief.

Beyond our own personal lives, this All Hallow’s Eve falls in the wake of a year filled with senseless and tragic deaths from violence and natural disasters. Many are burdened with the sudden loss of loved ones. The church will offer prayers from the altar for peace on behalf of all who suffered death and for those who remain mired in the grief from their sudden passing.