October is chock full of mystery. Days slip quickly back and
forth between bright sun and winter chill. Vines are laden with surprise
vegetables hidden beneath abundant leaves. Country festivals have contests
for the weirdest vegetable, the prettiest chicken, and the biggest pumpkins
that may weigh hundreds of pounds.
At the end of the month, the mystery culminates with
Halloween. This tradition was long celebrated as a religious day by many
cultures, including the Celts who lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off
In the 19th century, Halloween lost its religious
underpinnings and became a children’s holiday. Halloween children still wear
costumes and don masks, but instead of warding off ghosts they enjoy sweets
from neighbors and friends. One wonders if “trick” from the phrase “trick or
treat,” is a vestige of the feisty ghosts from centuries past.
Laden with the fullness of autumn, these days of
October are indeed a treat, made especially sweet by the distant rumble of