Eileen Dahill/N. America



My Belfast born mom still keeps the light on for the few trick-or-treaters we still get on Halloween. We only had eleven this year. She stands at the door nibbling on the Kit-Kat candy bars and keeps suggesting upgrades to lure children to her house. “We could use bigger candles in the pumpkins” “Bring the bench to the sidewalk and put a pumpkin on it.” (I did.) “Turn the lights on in the kitchen in case they come up the alley”. But it is a cold Halloween even by Minnesota standards. There are few children about the neighborhood. They’ve gone to the malls and the goblins are off the streets. The tradition remains strong in some neighborhoods but we end up with a bowl of Kit-Kats between us on the couch.



Since the 80’s there has always been a bonfire in St. Paul, Minnesota at a park. At one time, the night included renting the pavilion which was used to host a traditional dinner, games for the children, music and song. It was not uncommon to run out of food. In recent years the big crowd is long gone (probably to the mall – and I say this tongue-in-cheek) but we still gather around a bonfire for the craic. There was a wind whipping around so we had to keep shifting from one side of the fire pit to the other not to get burned but we managed to get a few songs in before the embers. It was just cold enough for us to have a story or two about how we braved last nights’ weather.


Voice for the Grave

They say that the walls between the living and the dead are very thin this time of year. The day of the bonfire I saw that my friend request was accepted by Brenda Buckley on Facebook. She has been dead for five years. I know that sometimes sites on Facebook are maintained by friends or family after their death – but perhaps this was not the case.