One of the stories I read early on was the story of Ichabod Crane in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving who also wrote Rip Van Winkle. I took it as a straight-forward ghost story when I read it as a child, but remember feeling puzzled and dissatisfied by the open ending. As a more mature discerning reader, I can see how Ichabod’s rival in courtship played a role in tricking the superstitious Ichabod into believing that the Headless Horseman was real, although Ichabod, the educated schoolteacher, most likely realized after the fact that it was a trick, causing him to quietly disappear from the region without a trace out of deep unconsolable humiliation.
Of course, most mature folks realize that Halloween celebrations have nothing to do with the souls of the dead and more to do with the living poking fun at superstition or just getting children to play with the idea of the supernatural. Games are usually meant to follow specific rules and those who choose to desecrate graves or poison candies given out to trick-or-treaters are like the bad apples spoiling the spirit of fun inherent in this annual festivity.
So, having established the fact that there is absolutely nothing spiritual about Halloween which seems to follow the topsy-turvy carnivalesque order of things, I admit that I am still fascinated by the idea that the veil separating the world of the living and the world of the dead becomes thinner once a year on All Hallows’ Eve, allowing some spirits to return for a few hours.
If I were to write a supernatural Halloween tale, whom could I choose to bring back to life for one brief evening and under what circumstances? Who would not be offended by my wanting to resurrect them for just one night out of the year? Anyone can be "brought back to life" as attested by the many examples of historical fiction and the only limitation seems to be one's imagination, but again, maybe there are also rules to writing that one who is serious about writing should not be breaking. Can I do these souls justice when I choose to awaken them from their century-long sleep?
Here's an interesting article on New England Vampire Panic, in many ways unrelated to my post but not unrelated to the theme of superstititon and the supernatural. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-Great-New-England-...