Can you feel it? The brisk breeze in the morning and the leaves starting to turn? Pumpkin-spice is being advertised everywhere from our coffee shops to our favorite cereals and football is in full season. For many of us “millennial-minded” folks these changes mean that Spooky Season is upon us. 
For those of you who haven’t heard of “Spooky Season” it’s a fairly recent term used to describe the time leading up to Halloween. We all enter Spooky Season at different times. One of my friends entered Spooky season with the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte back in August. For me, I wait until October 1st and Spooky Season coincides with the Halloween Themed sweaters and decorations. 
Okay, if I’m being fully truthful, Spooky Season might not be as much of a holiday season to the average person as it is in my Halloween-loving friend group. In preparing this article I took the opportunity to learn more about the traditions around Halloween and have come to the conclusion that some version of Spooky Season is a good fit for preparing for the three-day celebration of Allhallowtide (yes, that is a real word!).
Similar to Christmastide or Eastertide, the Christian church has celebrated the three holidays of Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day since the 8th century when the vigil for All Saint’s Day was established in Rome by Pope Gregory III. Sometimes called Hallowtide, Allsaintstide, or the Hallowmas Season, these are the three days designated in the church year to enter that threshold space of honoring and remembering those who have gone before us. While some churches continue to celebrate All Saint’s Day to honor the members of that community who have died in the past year, by and large, most white churches in the United States have lost touch with the tradition of this three-day festival and the time of preparation leading up to it.
For those of us without roots to Mexican culture, the Pixar film “Coco” was a beautiful introduction to the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos which celebrates All Saint’s Day through beautifully decorated ofrendas or altars and offerings of beloved dishes as a time set apart to pray for deceased family members and to continue to be in relationship with their spirit. There’s a similar tradition that I learned about from my host family in Hungary that during Allhallowtide the veil between the living and the dead is more permeable than other times of the year. In Hungary, my host family and I gathered for an evening picnic at the graveside of their deceased family members, decorating the grave with flowers and candles and attending a church service. 
It’s interesting to me that, for the most part, the Church has left behind Halloween and the spookiness of being in relationship with our own mortality and the spirits of our ancestors. This year, I’ve set myself a new intention to pay attention in October to the saints who have made me who I am. Throughout the month I plan to cultivate a physical space in my home to light a candle to create my own ofrenda and open myself to the workings of the saints in my life. 
Embracing Spooky Season and coming to Allhallowstide differently this year invites us into what Scripture talks about in Hebrews 12 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. What might it look like for us to reimagine our place with this great cloud of witnesses and move past the pumpkin spice and football to honor and learn from the departed saints in your life? 
Vicar Hope