Of Saints and Haints


A traveler hailed a taxi cab, and after he hopped inside he started to wonder where there was a good restaurant for him to eat at.

“Pardon me.”  He reached up and tapped the driver’s shoulder.

The driver screamed, and the cab jumped the curb and hit a light post.  They staggered out of the taxi and brushed themselves off.

“I’m so sorry,” the driver said.  “But it’s my first day on this job.  Up until last week I drove a hearse.”

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  As a kid I liked dressing up and getting candy (yeah, the obvious stuff).  As an adult it’s partly because it falls in the Fall, my favorite season of the year.  It’s also always been haunted by some controversy, and as a writer controversy is food for my muse.


So on the one hand you have church tradition:  All Saints Day is November 1, so the day before is know as All Hallows Eve.  Because there are more saints than there are days in a year, All Saints is a convenient way to honor the ones who didn’t get a day dedicated to them (we don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings).

Oh, and let’s not forget All Souls Day on November 2, which honors everybody else who died but didn’t become a saint (like I said, we don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings).

Then you have the Pagan side:  Samhain was the Celtic new year, so New Year’s Eve was October 31.  It was believed the veil between this world and the next was thinnest on that night, and we mortals wanted to keep the visiting spirits happy (in other words, we didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings).

Lanterns, presumably some carved from turnips, were set up to light the way.  Food was set out.  This was also a good time to try to rescue anybody who’d been kidnapped to the Otherworld by the sidhe (aka fairies, but you don’t want to call them that to their face), so you dressed up to try to blend in with the spirits.

Mesh the two together, and you have a night of honoring the dead and offering hospitality.  In fact, hospitality is even extended to those that represent visitors (trick-or-treaters) you might not be inclined to want to invite in (especially the teenagers who barely dress up and hold pillow cases).


Oh, and if you’re still wondering what the heck a haint is, my hillbilly is showing again.  Also rendered as ha’nt, it’s from haunt, but is synonymous to ghost, phantom, shade, spook, or wraith.  Did I get all the specters by name?  After all, I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings….


3 thoughts on “Of Saints and Haints

  1. That was too funny.
    I wrote about All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days recently as well.
    I don’t think we were thinking about hurting other people’s feelings back then when we establish those as Holidays. Unless time travel exists and someone from the present traveled to the past…

    Liked by 1 person

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