No, I'm not pagan, Wiccan, or even a closet Goth. But I've always been in tune with the darker side of All Hallows Eve. The reason for those brightly colored costumes? So spirits can't recognize you and hie off with you across the Veil Between the Worlds, which is at its thinnest on this night.
Gives you a delightful shiver, doesn't it? And that's what I've always loved about Halloween - the spooky possibilities, the thought of all the things from tale and legend that just might exist, after all - the things that go bump in the night, or worse.
That's courtesy of the folklore junkie in me. Samhain marked the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, the death of the Summer King and the growing season, and the beginning of the reign of the Winter King, with his attendant long, dark nights and bitter cold. This was a night of transition and change; small wonder it became associated with all things not of this earth. This message has been usurped by modern commercialism, leaving us with a mere husk of what used to be a major yearly event for ancient peoples.
But c'est la vie - there's no going back. Enjoy your night, however you choose to celebrate. Me? I'll be curled up by the light of a jack-o-lantern, huddled in a blanket, reading scary stories.
Wait a minute...did I just hear something upstairs...?