Ever since I was tiny wee, I have looked forward to Hallowe'en.
The darker nights, the feeling of magic, the idea of Witches and Ghosts.
These days Halloween (note the new spelling!) is a much more widely celebrated night than it was when I was a child. The best we could hope for as far as entertainment went, was to hope that one or two of the children's tv shows did a Hallowe'en special.
We did not trim up at home, there were no Halloween decorations in the shops. Trick or Treat was unknown.
I remember one year asking my mum if I could make a swede lantern - pumpkins had not yet reached rural Lincolnshire, so I had to go the traditional rout.
My word! Have you tried hollowing out an uncooked swede?! After a good half an hour of serious work, I had a tiny hollow in the top which would not even take a night light. My hands were aching and fingers were developing blisters. So no Hallowe'en lantern that year.
It wasn't until Graham and I got together that we were able to really celebrate the festival, and boy have we made the best of it ever since!
Samhain is the most important festival of the Witch's year. In Celtic times it was a day that belonged neither to the old year nor to the new, so it was literally a day that is not a day, a time that is not a time. Any time which is on the border between things happening, eg the twilight time between sunset and full dark, is known as a crack between the worlds. But Samhain has a full day between the worlds, which gives spirits of all kinds the chance to cross over from their world to ours, and also allows us to make spirit journeys to other worlds too.
Many old stories and songs speak of strange meetings happening at this time of year. This is the time when the Faery Court, the Seelie Court, rides out. They are looking for people to carry back to elf land with them. They might be looking for lovers or servants, wet nurses for Faery babies, or musicians, or seers.
This is also the night when those who have been carried off can make their way home, or be rescued by the brave ones.
This is the night when the Devil rides out too. And when Witches have their special meetings.
This is always a night to try some divination even if it something simple like peeling an apple and throwing the peel over you left shoulder. See if it forms the initial of your future lover. Or try the art of mirror gazing, when spirits will peep over your shoulder to show themselves in your mirror.
You could cast the runes and see what the year ahead has in store for you. Or draw a Tarot card from the pack and see the theme of your next few months.
This is always the time to welcome friends and relatives whether they are in this world or the next. Light a candle and raise a glass to 'absent friends', and give them a little nip of wine or alcohol too - the spirits enjoy those vapours.
Whatever you do tonight, make it fun.