Halloween is associated with darkness. The main activities of Halloween are in the evening. The events usually include some sort of "haunted" attraction that is dark or dimly lit. The mythology and imagery surrounding the occasion mostly deal with graveyards, spirits, witches, vampires and other places and creatures of the darker realms. Halloween celebrates the night.
I got to thinking about this last night as I walked around in darkness. My wife usually goes to bed much earlier than I do, so when I am coming to bed I keep the lights off as much as possible so as not to disturb her sleep. I shut off the lights in my home office and prowl through the darkened house as I make my way to bed. At first, before my eyes have been able to adjust to the change in lighting, it seems very dark. Then gradually I am able to realize that it is really not that dark at all. Light from the outside filters through the closed blinds. There are many red, green, or amber lights from appliances and electronic devices and clocks throughout the house. I am amazed at all of the various lights that remain on always. Momentarily I recall hearing on the Southwest Radio Church program one time that the government of the "Beast" that will one day rule the entire world will be able to "watch" everyone in Big Brother fashion through the electronics that are always on in our homes. Pausing, I wonder if they could see me in this darkness.
I enjoy walking around the house in the dark. In a way it seems like an exercise that helps increase my visual acuity as well heightening other senses. I walk carefully so as not to hurt myself or knock anything over. A few times I have painfully banged my toe making me more careful about where I direct my steps. I pride myself on my night vision. Walking in the dark house is like practicing for being blind or having a severe visual impairment. I hope it never happens, but for short periods I get some sense of what it would be like. I like being able to see well so I want my eyes to be healthy, but walking in the dark can be a challenge.
As a matter of fact, I've always liked walking in the dark. Back to the idea of the challenge in one part, but also the feeling of mystery and fear and sense of peacefulness and solitude walking or just being in the dark sometimes offers. To be in a darkened room, not sleeping, but just resting, reflecting, and meditating can be immensely restoratitve to the soul. The womb-like retreat of a dark place can feel safe and sheltering. Usually you can see in the dark as we usually encounter darkness like as when I am walking around the house. It's not like the demonstration of real darkness that cavern tour guides in places like Carlsbad Caverns give you when they will at one point turn off the lights. That's real darkness. Back when I was in my 20's my friends and I would sometimes engage ourselves in spelunking--cave exploration--and almost always at some point we would turn out our lights to experience the darkness. If we would have ever lost our lights, then that would have been true terror. True blindness.
Once, in that same era of my life when I was still living at home with my parents back in Tennessee, my friend Fred (God rest his departed soul) and I decided to hike to the top of the Chimney Top peaks in the Smokey Mountains to see the sunrise. Fred spent the night at my house and we got up about 3 AM and drove to the Chimney Tops trailhead. It was a couple hour hike so most of it had to be done in the darkness in order to experience sunrise at the summit. I had attempted the hike twice before in the daylight. The first time my friend Marvin and I somehow got off the trail and ended up on a different trail where we came upon some other hikers who had food and shared their lunch with us. We never made it to the Chimney Tops. My second visit with two other friends reached the intended destination and it was then I decided that one day I would return for the sunrise. When Fred and I made the trek we did so without flashlights. The darkness was especially intense on the trail because it was totally forested. We walked carefully. The trail was visible enough to follow but all around us was the ambiguity of the dark, silent mountain forest. We had a goal and persisted until we reached the top. The sky was lightening with the dawn and the cool August morning air was still with anticipation. We found some rocks at the pinnacle and waited. Then, as though God were speaking to us, the sun appeared along with a grand whoosh of the wind. It was breathtaking and the two of us watched silently.
I like to walk in darkness, in the literal sense, as long as I can see a little bit and I'm not totally blind. If I can see something in the darkness and have a pretty good idea of where I'm going, then I know that if I am careful I should be okay and get to my destination safely. However, often I think we all walk in darkness in the figurative sense. We may lack spirituallity, God, love, friendship, knowledge, wisdom, or whatever makes us more enlightened or goal-oriented in our lives. We walk with uncertaintity, loneliness, sadness, and fears that cannot seem to be assuaged. That is not a pleasant darkness in which to walk.
Some oft given advice for trick-or-treaters since they will be out walking in the dark is that they should carry some sort of light. The light is not really intended for the trick-or-treaters to find their way through the streets. Normally there is enough light for everyone to see where they are going in the streets of the neighborhood. The light that they are advised to carry is so that people can see them.