"It will soon be time to prepare for All Hallows Eve," Mamie said as she set the table for supper.
"All Hallows Eve? What's that?" Barbara asked. She looked over at Mamie as she chopped vegetables for a salad.
"All Hallows Eve is a celebration of the spirits that rule the shadow glade. It is a day when we remember those who have passed on. However it is also a day when the shadow glade is closer to the world of the living. On this day, spirits can cross over to our world and walk among us."
"That sounds kinda scary. I mean, what if a spirit tries to kill us?"
Mamie smiled kindly at her. "There are ways that we have of protecting ourselves from venegeful spirits, however, we must also keep in mind that not all spirits are vengeful. Some spirits are quite helpful."
Barbara raised her eyebrows. "Helpful spirits? I'd be more likely to run away from any spirits rather than ask them for help."
"But that is the main thing about spirits. How do you tell the living from the dead when the dead are in the form of the living?" Mamie smiled at her confused look. "On All Hallows Eve, the spirits that choose to walk among us take the form they had in life. They look just as we do."
"That is really scary. Is there any way to tell them apart?"
"Not unless you get close enough to look in their eyes. Their eyes are dead, they have no inner light because their souls are no longer inside their bodies, their souls are their bodies."
"There's no other way to tell but their eyes?"
"No, dear. The other ways that people have come up with have been very unreliable. You are more likely to mistake a person for a spirit or a spirit for a person."
Barbara bit her lip and her eyes glazed over in thought. "How would I protect myself from vengeful spirits?"
"There are many different ways to protect yourself. Some work wondrously well and others don't work very well. One of the more favourite way to protect yourself is make a lantern out of a squash or a pumpkin. If you carve a face into the lantern and place a lighted candle in it, it confuses the spirits. Another favourite is to dress up as another person. This confuses the spirits as it makes them unsure as to who is who."
Barbara started to laugh. "That kind of sounds like the Halloween traditions at home only it is just the children who get dressed up. Then the children go door to door to get treats and candies. We call it trick or treating."
"We do have something similar. One of the traditions is to leave food outside of your door for the spirits. This way they are appeased and will leave your household alone."
"Mamie, how do you and Talbot prepare for All Hallows Eve?"
"Do you know the few squashes that we left in the garden? We will make lanterns out of those for the windows and the door. If we can afford it, we will also leave out some food for the wandering spirits."
"Can I help? What kind of food will we leave them?"
"Of course you can help my dear. We will leave them the same food that we are eating on that day. The very first plate of food served up on All Hallows Eve will go to the spirits, then we will eat."
"When are we going to make the lanterns?"
"All Hallows Eve is less than a fortnight away. We will carve the lanterns a few nights beforehand. Don't worry, we have plenty of time."
Barbara placed the salad on the table while Mamie called Talbot inside for dinner. As they ate, Barbara thought of all the similarities to their All Hallows Eve and her own Halloween.