Our house closed on September 1, 1999. As soon as most of the boxes (don’t look under the basement steps) were unpacked and the place looked halfway decent, I decorated for Halloween. I was so looking forward to having cute kids crying for candy (urgh…too much alliteration). Being a huge candy fan myself, I was also looking forward to having more candy than the kids would take, thus assuring myself of a decent munching supply through Thanksgiving. I spent roughly $30.00 on Halloween candy. I had 4 bags of Milk Duds, 30 Peanut Butter cups and 3 bags of fun-size Milky Way. How do I remember this? Because we had two trick or treaters, and that Halloween candy sat around my house for months–until I was so sick of it that I threw it out. It was in danger of being served to the same two kids the next year.
Friends of ours had candy-loving small children, and I had waited for several hours for their boy and girl to stop by. When they didn’t come, I ventured over to find out the whole story. It went something like this….they don’t believe in Halloween because it celebrates the Devil and Evil and Satan and Witches. So they had a party at their church. Where the kids came in costume, they handed out candy and there was a play. About the Devil. And Evil. And Satan. And a Witch. So, in summation for the jury…I who have no problem with Halloween as a holiday spent the evening sitting on my front porch dejectedly eating unwanted Reese Cups. Friends of ours who think the whole thing is Satan’s Birthday Feast and should be avoided had a giant party featuring Satan himself (albeit in a villainous role). I don’t get it. What did I miss?
I’ve always celebrated Halloween. Cheifly because it is my Dad’s birthday, and he loves anything that has anything to do with a holiday, and will walk across broken glass for a candy bar. This man plants a tree every Arbor Day. To have his actual day of birth fall on a holiday wherein candy is prominantly featured is the ultimate example of God ‘s sense of who His children are. When I went to a Christian School, we didn’t celebrate Halloween. We had, conveniently placed at the end of October, a Harvest Festival. Yep. We got candy. We wore costumes. We bobbed for apples and made popcorn balls. There were no witches or ghosts, but we did toast the pumpkin seeds that we all brought in from carving our Jack-O-Lanterns at home. This post-modern Christian approach to Halloween has always left me scratching my head. What are we doing? Do we not believe in it? Then don’t have a party. Do we just not want to glorify evil? Then call it Halloween, but don’t have witches and devils. If we really are after a strong witness, why don’t we reclaim November 1 as All Saints’ Day? Or do we not care about the faith enough to celebrate that, but we will have Trunk N Treat in the church parking lot? In High School (back to the same Christian school where I started) I asked a parent volunteer these questions. She told me her personal problem with it is that Hallloween gives Satan an opportunity to have us focus on things that are gruesome–like Dracula and Frankenstein.
This from a religion that tells the children stories where sluts dance nude for their stepfathers and are rewarded with heads on a plate. Yes. We, whose Lord hangs bloodied from a cross, are strangers to the gruesome.
Personally, I’m celebrating Halloween. And I’m calling it “Halloween” while I do.