You can’t help but notice that Halloween is darker that it used to be. I don’t remember anyone in my neighborhood as a child sitting on the front porch with a chest that explodes gushing blood (sigh – next door) or a manic guy in a hockey mask with a chainsaw (a few streets over) . I think this sort of behavior, plus the current vampire obsession in the entertainment industry and other more in-your-face aspects of fallen culture have caused many Christians to question their participation in, well, a lot of things – most recently though – Halloween. This year many, many Christian sources posted articles discussing the evil, pagan origin of Halloween. Sigh. Several implied my immortal soul is in jeopardy at any level of participation.
But this post On Halloween by Trouble-Face Mom resonated most with me:
“I’m just saying that hiding from this holiday and the opportunity to meet our neighbors and/or their awesome kids may not always be the best way to approach it…Turn your light on. Lots of lights. A city on a hill cannot be hidden right? Be a city on a hill. Halloween may not be “redeemed” but you are. So open your door and smile.”
“If Jesus can go straight to hell, stare death and devil in the face, win and come back alive, why can’t we open our doors to the 6 year old in a Batman costume and his shivering mom? Why can’t we?”
Her follow up post this year is equally plain-speaking with some really funny bits, including a French Canadian grandfather handing out potatoes (!?) but I love these:
“I’m reading the comments about shutting doors to the darkness. Shutting doors to the half-drunk parents. Shutting doors on kids who aren’t dressed appropriately. And I just want to know which side of the door you think Jesus is standing on. What if Jesus is on the other side of that door doing the knocking? Will we keep Him out too? Jesus turned the water into wine after everybody at the party was already wasted. He hung out with prostitutes and thieves and sinners. It ticked a lot of people off.”
“I don’t think Jesus is afraid of Halloween. It’s not like this is the one night of the year where His love and power and grace are rendered useless.”
I’ve discussed some of the unique aspects of our neighborhood in Pumpkins and Candy and Costume… and our choice to have our light on and participate. We chose years ago not to be dark. As we watched some in our neighborhood set up scary displays, we chose to be bright, cheerful, friendly in our decorations. We chose to have good candy, and lots of of it. We chose to have costumes that were colorful and imaginative. We chose to smile and be welcoming to cute Disney princesses with parents coaching manners, and sullen un-costumed teenagers silently holding out a pillow case. Mr. Garner and I made these choices years ago, before we even knew there was a Halloween controversy. For years we never knew if anything we, or our neighbors who have also chosen to provide Halloween hospitality, made a difference to anyone. Last year a father walking alongside his small, beautifully dressed princess actually came up to the porch and thanked us. He told us that he appreciates being able to bring his daughter to our neighborhood for Halloween. So this year, despite the Halloween hoopla, we already knew that we would buy candy, carve a pumpkin and turn the light on!
And, celebrate in our usual fashion!
First we had to settle on a costume. In the past the Costume decision was a big deal, and always involved a Fairy or a Princess, usually both! This year the Daughter has been somewhat subdued about it, so I figured we would put something together from what-we-have-around-the-house. So it appears that one of my favorite “special evening” outfits from 20ish lbs ago is perfect for Pirate Attire. Who knew? Accompanied by a great deal of #1 Son’s Pirate Gear (we just did this for Talk Like A Pirate Day), the Daughter was all set. And no face paint!
While Mr. Garner carved the pumpkin “…at the last minute again,” he grumped,” I put together our traditional Halloween dinner of chili. Despite the grumbling, the Daughter and Mr. Garner did a fantastic job carving our pumpkin! By this time it was no trouble at all to cajole Mr. Garner, who likes to talk like a pirate, into dressing up too! The Daughter placed our pumpkin on the front porch, lit the candle, while I took a few pictures, and then after chatting with the neighbors for a few minutes, Mr. Garner and the Daughter set off down the street seeking plunder and I manned the fort.
We had more kids than usual! Lots and lots of little children in really cute costumes! Mr. Garner and the Daughter returned, and filled me on who they saw, and what costumes they were wearing, and what the neighbors said and whose dogs were dressed up; and helped pass out candy for the last half hour or so. We finally turned our light off and inside for some supper and then to the den to watch “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!”
We chose to wait up – for #1 Son – who was coming into town for the Carrollton Clash Ultimate Tournament. He drove up just in time to scarf some of the Daughter’s candy!
I’ll leave you with a link to a great VIMEO video with a fun poetic treatment, about Halloween, and All Soul’s Day. If you go to the Vimeo site the text is there to read!