Halloween: A Spiritual Perspective on Death

by Michelle Gregg, Cortibutor to Sacred Living on Allthingshealing.com

In just days, All Hallow’s Eve will be upon us once more. There are those who believe it’s a negative holiday, some because it’s been turned into a commercial driven candy fest, which obviously isn’t healthy for our children (or for us parents who raid the candy bag!) Others come out strongly against it for religious reasons, saying that it opens children to evil and is too frightening.

I’d like to offer a healing perspective for this ancient celebration. If you find that you appreciate this perspective, you can celebrate Halloween in a new way, with loving intention and thoughtful memory of those gone on before you.

In Nature, mid-autumn is time to reflect on the richness of life and to honor its endings. The trees and other flora offer a pageantry for the senses, through vibrantly colored leaves and fall fruits (like the lovely acorn). I like to think of that feast for the soul as nature’s way of going out in a blaze of glory – completing one more cycle of life before it rests for the year. As the leaves slowly fall we’re prepared for the wintry sight of bare reaching branches, stark against often gray skies… a living metaphor for death.

Many cultures set this time aside, specifically October 31 and November 1, to offer thanks and celebration for those who have given them life, the richness of their culture and heritage, and who have passed into the land of shadows before them. It is the time to honor their beloved dead.

Some say that on the night of October 31 specifically, the veil between the living and the dead is very thin, and that communication between the two realms is possible. Whether this is true or not, in my view, is irrelevant. What we’re offered via Halloween/Samhain/All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day on November 1 is a small moment once a year to really think about, cherish, and re-member our loved ones who have died.

In my family this remembering has become a ritual. We bring out photographs of my dad, my brother and the many other relatives and loved ones that we spent a part of our lives with. We tell stories, often stories that we all know by heart, about the things they did, their idiosyncrasies, the wonders of who they were, and who they still are in our hearts and memories. And we visit the local cemetery – sometimes offering stories about the lives of those whose headstones offer a brief glimpse into the previously walking lives of whomever lies beneath. We leave fruit and flowers… and say good bye once again.

And we also carve pumpkins into scary Jack-o-lanterns, dress up in ghoulish costumes, go to an annual Halloween party at a dear friend’s home, trick-or-treat and eat way too much candy… but somehow with this added perspective and ritual, the more frivolous and commercial aspects of the holiday hold a more profound meaning and feel very deeply sacred.

Halloween, celebrated in this way, is a rich and wonderful time of bitter-sweet. Bitter because it opens us to grief and sadness, profoundly aware of the absence of family and friends. Sweet because the faces and lives of those already passed are remembered, bringing us the depth of connection and the understanding that living and dying are both a vital and equally important part of this poignantly, sometimes painfully, beautiful and fleeting moment called life.

Bring on the Jack-o-Lanterns…



Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago

Thank you

Anna Ballinger
Anna B6 years ago

What a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

Rebecca P.
Rebecca P6 years ago

A thoughtful piece. Thank you.

Juliet D.
judith sanders6 years ago

The anti-Halloween nutters are out in force in my neighborhood. They think it's ok for them to pretend there are devils and demons all year round, but a little kid who wants to pretend, for one stinkin' night a year, that he is something more than small and powerless - must be stopped!

Zee Kallah
Past Member 6 years ago

There is little that I will miss when I get to cross over.

I think my Halloween Birthday is a primary.

According to my horror scope, one of my purposes in this life is to come to understand evil.

Evil is live spelled backwards. lol

Hey, we all have a light side and a dark side and sometimes your light side gets on my dark side's nerves.

Start Change Stop

If a seed is in the ground it must die and behold, the new, eager green life springs forth.

Birth is the Death of freedoms put aside.
Death is the Birth of freedoms made new.

Death is the release of the prisoner.
Why should we fear. Angels await us.

When I cross over, I'd like to spend a while
as one of the angels of death.

I am Scoprio. Death brings forth life.

I am the fabulous phoenix.
From my own ashes I rise.
I destroy myself but to live again
more beautiful in your eyes.

And Halloween I get to be 69.
Freedom will soon be mine!

If you check into most spiritual teachings,
fear is negated. Death is the freeing of soul.

I read of the work of a shaman. I can't
remember his name but you'd probably
recognize it. He advised his protege
to make friends with his death.
Carry your death on your shoulder.
I took the shaman's advice
and gained much freedom.

Twice in my life I have had a gun
held on me. Such calmness.
"Be sure you do it right."
He put the gun away.
We never spoke of it again.
We were still friends.

Hallelu YAH!

Michelle Gregg
Michelle Gregg6 years ago

Thanks to all of you who have expressed your sentiments so beautifully about Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead/All Saints Day... it's heartening to hear from each of you! Happy Holy Evening! (Thanks for that Steven F.!)

Laurie D.
Laurie D6 years ago

What a lovely idea -- and we can eat candy while remembering! PERFECT!!!

Mary Brady
Mary Brady6 years ago

Interesting perspective. With autumn as the slumber time for us northerners. Harvest is in mostly and plants are going to rest for the winter months. Death is a natural part of life. Like the trees in the autumn you only see its true color in the fall. We prepare our whole lives for death let us be like the trees and plants put on a beautiful moment for all to see, then go with GOD.

Linda Stark
Linda Stark6 years ago

This was originally the end of the year and it makes perfect sense as we are going into the darkness now, and everything comes from darkness - a seed germinates, an idea forms - and so for me this time of year has much more significance than January 1st. Our present Halloween celebrations are rooted in very ancient rituals and should be celebrated and honoured as such.
A time to look back and reflect - and a time to look forward.