Samhain Story Silly Season (Plus Sandy!)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 29, 2012 — 19 Comments

Before we start today’s post I’d like to wish safety, security, and good health to all those in path of the Hurricane Sandy. If you’re a reader of The Wild Hunt, please check in at the comments and let us know you’re OK.

Now then, Samhain. Or should I say Halloween? Because while the two holidays are distinct, their connections and associations have reporters heading out to find some real-live Witches and Pagans to interview each October. While it’s not as bad as in times past, there’s still a flood of stories each year; some good, some bad, and some that just make you scratch your head. So here’s some selections from the Samhain Silly Season.

  • Every Halloween has to have a story from Salem, home to so many real-live Witches, and this year is no different. However, this year the East Coast is contending with Hurricane Sandy, so we get a “how’s the Halloween tourist industry doing in the inclement weather” story. Quote: “To me, the entire season this year has seemed a little quiet,” said Lynn Lazdowski, co-owner of Bewitched in Salem. “I don’t know if it’s the economy; gas prices are still high, after all. So for me, evaluating the crowds today are a tough call – it does seem down from previous years, but I don’t know what to attribute that to.”
  • What do you do when you’re a Christian media outlet but you want to have a Witch-themed story in time for Halloween? Interview a Christian ex-Witch of course! Christian Today Australia interviews S.A. (Seleah Ally) Tower (who I’ve reported on before) about this dangerous, dangerous holiday. Quote: “Putting on a costume is like temporarily putting on the persona of the costume so I would suggest using discernment in the costume choice. I would certainly not encourage a witch or sorcerer costume, but I don’t think a parent should overreact to a child’s choice of one either. It can be a great learning experience and help the child make another choice on their own.”
  • However, Henry Brinton a pastor of Fairfax Presbyterian Church, writing for USA Today, says that Christians shouldn’t fear Samhain (or Halloween). Quote: “…the ancient Celts were right to focus on “summer’s end.” Halloween is about the transition from summer to winter, from life to death. Even young children are beginning to wonder about mortality, so what is the harm in having them dress up as ghosts or skeletons? As Christians, we believe that God is with us in both life and in death. Bioethicist George Annas says America has a “death-denying culture that cannot accept death as anything but defeat.” This attitude makes it hard for us to prepare for death. But Halloween reminds us that we all must die.”
  • Canadian paper The Province interviews Witch Sarah Lawless about Samhain and Halloween. Quote: “The biggest pagan celebration of the year is Oct. 31. Most people know it as Halloween. “This is the one time of year when magic is acceptable. It’s okay to be a pagan,” says Sarah Lawless, 28, a Maple Ridge native who got into paganism 10 years ago as a way of celebrating the natural world. She says it’s fun being scared, but most of the time there’s no reason to be.”
  • Meanwhile, in Poland, the growing popularity of Halloween has got Archbishop Andzej Dzięga very, very concerned! Quote: “It is with growing sadness that we see in the last few years a trend of so-called Halloween celebrations growing in Poland. I am particularly concerned about such initiatives [being introduced] in school, where only mature attitudes should shape the social, intellectual and spiritual growth of the younger generation,” writes the archbishop […] Halloween is also the “promotion of paganism” and a “culture of death” he claims.” Sorry Archbishop, but when you get rid of totalitarian government, you have to deal with the messiness of actual freedom.

That’s just a selection, there’s more, of course. A Witches Ball in Toledo, Unitarians considering the thinning of the veil, eclectic Pagans in Framingham, speaking with the spirits in Salem, and all the occult origins reporters can dig up on short notice. Why not share your favorite Samhain-themed stories in the comments, I have no doubt there’s plenty I’m missing.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • So far so good for me. Lots of rain and wind and there are power outages in my area (my wife’s veterinary clinic is on its generator, for example) but for the moment I’m still online! Good luck to everyone else in the path of the storm!

  • Tara

    I’m glad they interviewed Sarah Lawless. She is a great artist.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I am brought to wonder if there is an actual Pagan evangelism opportunity in Poland, or if the Archbishop is merely indulging the alarmism endemic to his profession.

    • cederelk

      I’d take everything he says with a grain of salt, considering this beautiful gem of irony he drops here: “Halloween is also the “promotion of […] a “culture of death” he claims.” Hee hee hee!

  • g75401

    Talk about magickal thinking….you put on a piece of cloth and “take on the persona of the character”… I missing something here? And this is coming from someone who thinks ritual bread and wine turns into human flesh and blood….

  • So far, so good here. It’s very wet with some big gusts at the moment. I’m just waiting to see what 6pm and landfall will bring.

  • The winds are just picking up here in Northern Virginia/DC metro area. No damage so far in my spot, but I expect that we’ll be shut down through Wednesday regardless. The roads are clearly not at all safe right now.

    I hope everyone else affected stays safe, warm, and dry!

  • Ursyl

    Hoping that all our part of SW PA gets is a good soaking. High winds are predicted though, which might make life more “interesting” for the next day or so.

  • In the Dominican Republic. We’re fine but the majority of deaths related to storm Sandy were in Haiti and the reported death toll there may still rise? They did not need this. I hope our flight back will not be complicated…

  • Zan Fraser

    Full Moon Samhain Hurricane: reporting live from New York City, anticipating Land-Hit of Franken-Storm Sandy in Southern New Jersey (to advance rapidly up to NYC) this evening around 8pm. Reports already that the rivers are crazy high; flooding is widely feared; tonight being the Full Moon, tides will be at peak.
    Light rain so far, but crazy gusts of wind picking up; city is in shut-down; neighborhood dogs have been freaked out since yesterday.
    Anticipating this Full Moon Night of the Samhain Season (Halloween energies already unleashed over the weekend, in civic merriment and Pagan rituals): the Wild Hunt, the Wyrd Sisters, the Faerie Ride, to break over our heads. In the morning, we anticipate a new day. Gods and Fellow Pagans: be with us through the night.

  • doing well in eastern MD. My wishes go to those without power tonight…

  • Upstate New York reporting in, in one of those “up-slope danger areas” in the Berkshires. We’re fine. Less than I thought it was going to be. Didn’t lose power, yet, but the storm feels like it’s swinging back around for another lashing, so it’s possible we’ll be in the dark sometime tonight. It’s been close to going out here.

  • We are doing well in Southern Maryland. Our home is between the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River. From what I glean from the news reports, we are likely the least affected by the storm. We are following instructions to shelter in place. So far, though, the worst thing that’s happened is a couple of power flickers. Brighid has us in Her care. This AM, the weather actually seems a lot calmer than it was yesterday.

    Cathryn Meer Bauer

  • PurplePagan

    Purplepagan checking in from just outside Pittsburgh! It looked like Sandy was going to hit us before it dissipated or move North, but we were fortunate enough to have the worst of it miss us.

    A peaceful Samhain to you all. For those of you with questions, may you find the answers you seek.

  • katbrumsted

    All clear here in Nova. Power came back around noon. No damage in our yard. Kids are carving pumpkins. Does anyone know of anyplace looking for volunteers for disaster relief. Most places just want money.

    • Nicole Youngman

      Money is important because folks like the Red Cross can work much more efficiently when they have it to buy exactly what is needed in a particular area. All that shit with the canned goods Romney just pulled is practically useless. There will be tons of opportunities to volunteer later, when people need tearing down/rebuilding/resettling help. Right now we need to stay out of the way and let the search & rescue pros do their thing, unless you are very close and have a small boat you can use to get stranded people out of buildings or get food and water to them without endangering yourself.

  • Kilmrnock

    As far as sandy goes we faired the onslaught well , pretty much unscathed . Only had minor tree damage and backyard flooding .No power outages in my locale . As the media and samhain tis the usual crap , but actualy here the media is busy w/ Sandy the hurricaine coverage at this point , altho here on Northern Delmarva we did ok , other areas nearby faired a bit worse .New Jersey and New York took a beating . I get the idea in many places near here Halloween will fall between the crackes with all the storm damage and preoccupation . Altho i believe local pagans will be celibrating despite the weather , know i will be .Happy Samhain to all. Kilm

  • The Presbyterian minister’s quote was my favorite, both for its articulation and its understanding. Well done, considering the source!

  • TheRainvilles

    Made it ok. For some reason the burbs of Philadelphia seemed to have avoided the brunt of the storm.