Someone asked me yesterday what - as a witchy person - I do for Halloween.
Well firstly, I call it Samhain (summer's end) and a lot of what I do is pretty much the same as what other people do...
I carve Jack O'Lanterns (but I try to make them friendly) because the folklore behind them, which you can read all about here tells us that they were traditionally carved to provide light and warmth for lost souls.
All Hallow's Eve is a Sabbat when the veil between this world and the Otherworld is at is thinnest - like at the opposite side of the wheel when we celebrate Beltane - and because of this, it is historically regarded as the one night of the year when the spirits of the dead return to earth. These Jack O'Lanterns are to guide them home.
At Samhain, another thing I do is honour those who are no longer with us. I do this simply, by having a photograph or memory of them on my altar and lighting a candle. When I drink my mulled cider, I raise a toast to them, in hopes that they are wandering free and happy.
Finally, as the Sabbat marks the end of the year and the end of the harvest, I try to cook up a feast of food which represents the season. This year we made pumpkin pie and I'll share the recipe with you later this week. We give thanks for all we have harvested during the year that has just passed and talk about our hopes, dreams and wishes for the new year to come. Sometimes we write these down and sometimes we cast them off into the wide world to allow the gods and spirits to help them come to fruition. We have done this in a whole range of ways over the past few years - writing them on a paper lantern and setting it free on the wind, tying them to a feather and casting them downstream, or burying them in the earth as seeds to grow.
Every hedge, hearth, kitchen, garden or any other kind of witch is different - as a solitary I have made the choice not to follow a ritualised path with ceremonies set out by others. I go with my heart and do what comes naturally each year - I find that it is what is inside that counts.
Whatever your choices, rituals, traditions, hopes, goals and dreams are at this turn of the wheel, I wish you love, light and laughter as you go about them.