It’s been four years since I wrote my Heart Will, a lasting message for people I love and future generations. While I’ve been soul searching most of my life, the events of 2020, and in particular the much-needed spotlight on systemic racism, has accelerated my inquiry into high gear.
Depending where you live, you may be surrounded by plastic skeletons, scary-looking ghosts, and perhaps some creatively-carved pumpkins. If you live in the US or Canada and various other countries, you’ll be tempted to gloss over the once-holy day with mini Kit Kats and costume parties. But if that’s all you’re doing, you’re missing out.
There’s never been a greater opportunity to dive deeper into the meaning of the holiday.
Here are three tips to help you squeeze more out of life (and death!) this Halloween:
1. Remember your dead.
Who are your dead? Start by making a list of everyone you know who died. While that action alone can be very powerful, you can take it a step further by creating a temporary or permanent place to remember them. Consider hanging photographs on a dedicated wall, table or mantle—even a corner of a counter or table could work. In addition to, or instead of photographs, place a special object to remind you of the person, draw something, or simply write their name.
While you’re at it, make a list of people’s death anniversaries. Choose to remember them on that special day by lighting a candle, playing a favourite song or eating their favourite dessert.
2. Go to an event.
Here in Vancouver, Canada, we’re fortunate to have Mountain View Cemetery’s All Souls events which marries creative arts, remembrance and community. Their special night was the Saturday before Halloween and we were lucky to be able to go with our families. Look up words like “All Souls” in your community to see what’s happening near you. You may also be able to take part in a local Death Cafe (find one at www.deathcafe.org) or search for “death and dying” on facebook or eventbrite and see what events come up.
3. Remember that you’re going to die.
Create urgency in your life and imagine you’re going to die this time next year. Think of how you would spend your time and who you would spend it with. Write a love letter or other lasting message to important people in your life and for future generations to remember you by. Learn about writing Love Letters and Heart Wills and download Willow’s free tools to help you: Five-Minute Love Letter Exercise, How to Write Your Heart Will Guide.
What about you?
How do you make Halloween meaningful?
Photo credit: Tim Matheson/nightforallsouls.com