Yes, Halloween is this week. It’s hard for me to forget that because this is the time of year when I get a whole bunch of frantic phone calls. They usually go something like this:
“I know it’s last minute, but I’m having this big Halloween party on Saturday night, and I thought it would be really fun if I had someone come and do readings. The party starts at 7, and we’ll be there at least (ha ha!) until 1 or 2. How does $100 sound for the whole night?”
It is a pet peeve of mine that people equate getting a reading with “spooky, scary Halloween.” Yes, I realize that the Celts used to do divination readings on Samhain (the sacred holiday celebrated at this time of year that has somehow morphed into Halloween Bloody Halloween), and this is probably one of the reasons for this practice today. Samhain is a harvest festival (harvest = death) and a time to honor your ancestors. So sure, a mediumship reading combined with a future forecast (which is what I usually do in most of my readings) seems like a good match for the energy. And I’m not going to dispute that the veil between the worlds is thin at Samhain; the spirit energies do tend to be very active now. My beef is simply with the whole “scary/weird” aspect that some folks try to promote with readings at Halloween.
I don’t do a lot of parties for people, and I’ll tell you why: most people don’t treat the reading with the respect it deserves. When it’s just a fun, entertainment event, folks have a tendency to act smug and smarmy when it’s their turn for a reading. Now, I’m not saying here that you can’t have fun during a reading. I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor and a high energy that people respond well to, and I certainly allow my personality to come out when I’m doing a reading. I try to make it a positive experience for the sitter. But seriousness tends to get thrown out the window at parties, especially ones where people are dressed in costume and have been drinking.
I haven’t worked at a Halloween party for years for these very reasons. I also don’t work at parties much anymore because people have a tendency to think you can give your services away for free. That example phone call at the beginning of the post? I’m not making that up. Let me get this straight: you want me to work from 7 p.m. until, oh, let’s just say 1 a.m. (and we all know that by that time, your friends will be hammered, but they’ll all STILL want readings, even if it takes me until 3 a.m. to finish them all), a total of 6 hours (which doesn’t include the extra 2 hours I’ll end up staying to make sure all of your friends are satisfied), and you want to pay me $100 for my time and energy? Really? Are you sure you haven’t started drinking to celebrate Halloween a few days early?
Look, I get it: Halloween is supposed to be fun. *I* think Halloween is fun! I dress up every year when I give out candy. I put decorations out in my yard. My boys run around the neighborhood, trying to scare the older kids and being friendly to the younger ones. I watch the scariest movie I can tolerate (which, nowadays, usually equates to something like THE OTHERS) and enjoy sneaking Tootsie Rolls when no one is looking.
But Halloween is also sacred to me. Doing readings for others is a part of my religion, an important part of my spiritual path. I take it seriously when I’m asked to read for someone, whether it’s a Tarot reading or a mediumship sitting. It’s a big responsibility, and not one I take lightly. So how can you ask me to do my work with a serious intention while I’m dressed as a gypsy or have a turban on my head (yes, people have asked me to do this–I declined)?
There are exceptions. I’ve done costume parties where the hosts were very respectful of my work–and this is why I’ve chosen to work with them. Remember: I’m a psychic! I can read your energy when you call me on the phone, if I choose to. And sometimes I do when people I don’t know are asking me for services I’m not sure they’re taking seriously.
So, please folks: if you’re asking a psychic, medium, or Tarot reader to work at a party, treat her with respect. Ask her what her price is for parties. Honor the fact that she may only want to work for a couple of hours (this work can be exhausting), and work with her on how to filter guests to her table. Give her a space away from the party so that she can concentrate and enjoy the experience, and encourage your guests to stay sober if they plan to get a reading. Pay her what she’s worth, bring her a glass of water or a soda and fix her a plate of goodies (even if she doesn’t eat them, she’ll appreciate the effort), and don’t ask her to dress up in something crazy (if she comes that way, fine–she’s made her own decision). Above all, treat the reading process with respect. Even if you’re a skeptic, you can still be thoughtful and open-minded while having a good time.
Happy Halloween, everyone.