You might already know that Halloween has its origins in ancient festivals honouring the dead as well as welcoming the new season of cold, dark nights. Perhaps it's not too surprising that in recent times we've jollied it up with costumes and sweets!
Halloween can be an invitation to explore our own attitude to death and dying. We are surrounded by images suggestive of a world beyond this one, which can make us feel anything from comforted to terrified. As this time of year symbolises winter drawing in, we might consider how we feel about another year going by. We are another year older, and a little closer to our own winter. Some of us won't want to think about that at all, and some of us will dwell on it and feel some powerful emotions rising. For me, it's a chance to check in with whether or not I'm happy with how I'm living. It may sound strange, but I find that the happier and fuller my life seems to be, the more settled I feel with the idea of death (though naturally I still hope it's a way off!)
All this death imagery may well make us think about people who have died. We might revisit our grief. We might honour the continuing bond we have with someone dead - just because they are no longer alive doesn't mean we don't think about what they might say to us or what we might say to them. Some people write letters or have long chats with dead loved ones - it can be a real comfort. I think children are naturals at this. As adults we might feel self conscious about it, or worry that we are "going mad". However, we needn't feel like this. In other cultures, dead loved ones are celebrated, with parties and meals thrown for them. The living get together to talk about them (and to them!) and offer them gifts and thanks. I like the idea that a loved one lost still lives inside the people they touched. Perhaps we do something differently or feel something particular because of how someone else affected us when they were alive: what a good time Halloween might be to remember that and be glad of it.
Equally, there may be people that you feel glad are dead and gone. It can be hard to admit openly when sayings like "don't speak ill of the dead" still echo for some of us, but the death of someone close can sometimes be a relief - for many reasons. If that leaves you wilth guilt or shame or other uncomfortable feelings, counselling can be a space to explore the complexity of bereavement, and to know that you'll be understood rather than judged.