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Opinion: Beware the reaper when he comes next week

Ghosts and goblins, spirits and spooks are celebrated as October draws to a close. Halloween celebrations begin on Oct. 31 and continue through Nov. 2, Dios da las Muertos, Spanish for the Day of the Dead. Ancestry worship commemorates our loved ones who have died as we all will some day. People uncomfortable with words like dead and died choose a euphemism such as passed away or gone to meet the lord instead.

A euphemism is an innocuous word or expression used in place of one that may be found offensive or unpleasant. The reaper is death in specter form come to collect the essence of the living.

I subscribe to the belief that the curtain between the living and the dead is at its thinnest this time of year. Customs believe costumes and masks are worn to hide one’s identity from evil spirits roaming the countryside. The walls and fences that surround cemeteries aren’t to keep people out but to keep the phantoms and spirits in.

Religious communities are especially against the idea of spirits and specters returning from the dead to menace their faithful and their beliefs.

There are ancient rituals to exorcise or eliminate the manifestations of the dead. Beware of phantasms, ghouls, shades, wraiths, and shadows, the souls and spirits of the dead.

A Ouija board may be used to contact the dead. The board itself is a tool like any other. The mere sight of a spirit board is enough to frighten some people. Those who are expecting to be scared are therefore not disappointed. Many believe evil spirits can use a Ouija board to enter our world from the spirit realm. Play at your peril, Boo!

Hollywood has told these fables in film and television with scary movies such as “The Exorcist” or comedies such as “Ghostbusters.” These presentations represent what most people think they know about ghosts and zombies and the undead.

Necromancy is a form of magic involving communication with the dead. This is accomplished either by summoning their spirit as an apparition or raising them bodily from their grave. They are used for divination, imparting the means to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge according to Wikipedia. This is used to bring someone back from the dead or to use the departed as weapons through the reanimation of dead bodies.

Children going house-to-house trick-or-treating and getting candy from strangers has fallen out of favor. It is seen as dangerous even when parents chaperone the activity. Safe activities such as church carnivals and trunk-or-treat events allow costume parties and to distribute candy and offer games to entertain their children. The idea is to keep them safe and off the streets.

There are still those who take their children out on this night of free candy. We pass out candy to those who come to our door and count how many children visit. Anyone driving through residential neighborhoods needs to watch out for the herds of trick-or-treaters.

Should those knocking at your door be teenagers be gracious. They will soon be too old to enjoy this harmless activity and will be bringing their children around soon enough. Be glad they are collecting candy rather than vandalizing the neighborhood. There are so many less healthy activities where they could be involved. Drinking and driving or doing drugs, for example, make getting free candy a better alternative. Once a person becomes an adult, they are a grownup for a long time.

Halloween allows ordinary people to dress as superheroes or aliens from outer space. It is common to see monsters, vampires and witch facades on people who otherwise are buttoned-up in a business suit.

Take the opportunity to let your inner character out to play and enjoy All Hollow’s Eve. Costumes create a fun new persona for the occasion. Halloween comes but once a year and missed opportunities don’t come around again.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a good weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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