Halloween – Two MORE Reasons I’m Creeped Out

My last post contemplated some long held muses regarding Halloween.  A couple more thoughts are rolling around.

Reason #3: Halloween doesn’t bring out the good in us.

What teenager wants to give up the huge candy haul?  I sure didn’t, so convinced my parents for several years that my friends and I should be allowed to have fun on Halloween just like everyone else.  Unfortunately, we became more infatuated with tricking than treating.  We threw rotten tomatoes at houses, egged cars, tee-peed homes, soaped windows, stole candy left out for others.  We really, truly thought we were being funny and that the night warranted such behavior. My neighbor who caught us soaping her windows certainly didn’t agree.  The deeply hurt expression of someone who had always treated us like her own grandchildren has forever been etched in my memory.  “But, it was just a joke,” didn’t erase the hurt. (It also should be noted that once my parents found out, there were deep consequences. Thankfully, they held the “You do the crime, you do the time” mentality.)

I’m middle-aged now, so maybe times have changed and people are no longer behaving badly.  I’ve hoped for such, but then read headlines of teens throwing pumpkins at cars (Google this – you’ll be stunned how many instances and horrible consequences come up) and of sheer, horrific crimes.  I’m aware of tragedies on other holidays as well, but what it is about Halloween that draws out the most horrific in people?

There is a video circulating that shows people being frightened at a haunted house.  “This is SOOOO funny!” everyone has said.  Sure, I chuckled at a few of the responses, but was then drawn to the scenes of the haunted house.  Dark, dirty, blood smears everywhere.  Hideous, blood-drenched people with gaping wounds jumped through doorways.   In one scene, maimed, tortured persons cried for help, desperately reaching through prison bars.

ghost

I flashed to recent headlines:  Women freed from a basement prison where they had been raped and tortured for years.  A teacher’s throat slit open with a box cutter by a student – a senseless, tragic crime. Images of Kurt Gosnell’s abortion clinic and Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers also bothered me.  Real people.  Real terror.  I can’t imagine anything more frightening than the likes of these types of things happening to my loved ones or to myself.  I’m not laughing at the video any more.  And I’m not sure why anyone does.

Reason #4: Does God approve?

Just this week, one of my students approached a controversial topic in an interesting way.  Gently, he said to a fellow student: “You’re a Christian, right?”

“Yes.” The other student (and the whole class) was a little nervous about where this was going to go.

“Then, do you want to follow God’s wisdom or do you want what the rest of the world calls wisdom?”

“I really do want God’s wisdom,” came the answer.

“Then we can trust God – right? – that His ways will work best even if we’re not taking the popular side.”

Those words went deep with me (and with much of the class).

I’ve been studying the book of Nehemiah recently. Interestingly, the weeks in which Ezra reminded the people of God’s word took place throughout October.   In fact, the New Living Translations records the events of chapter 9, where the people spent hours confessing their sins, as happening on October 31st!

Whether the NLT got that last date completely right or not, it stands out to me that our culture spends October celebrating things associated with the devil.  Nehemiah and Ezra urged people to spend the month turning back to their pure devotion for God and away from the fascination with ungodly practices that got them into trouble in the first place.

beweare

We were wonderfully and fearfully made. Halloween celebrates not the beauty of life, but its grotesqueness. It mocks death, and for that matter, life.   I guess we like to feel like we can make fun of death, because most people tell me that’s why they celebrate. “It’s fun.”  “I don’t like taking things too seriously.” “All this witch and ghost stuff isn’t real anyway.”

Death, apart from God is truly horrific. I can only think of one being who has a staked interest in numbing that reality – of tricking humans into thinking that terror is funny and death a laughing matter.  At the very start of our existence, Satan lied to mankind about the nature and purposes of God.  He also lied about his own nature and intent. Why would we think he’s going to stop now?

I’m not the mean old woman who turns little kids away from my doorstep on Halloween (if they even come, since we’re sans Halloween decor ). I seek to greet them with love and the hope that I and others stand out as different, as safe, as hopeful … as a light that no Jack-O-Lantern can come close to matching.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Halloween – Two MORE Reasons I’m Creeped Out

  1. I have vasilated back and forth for years at Jake’s request we refused to participate. His sweet little spirit knew.
    Then we learned how we appear to the world as leglaistic and wanted to be hos[itableto their pagan holidays by opening our doors and sharing sweets. There is something pagan in every holiday.SOme are outright offensive.
    Now I have decided it is a matter of conscience and wont bind on anyone my theology because it would be the same as saying its a sin to read steven king. so my hope is i am not offending my Jesus. we hate the scary faces, but for years we have volunteered at church parties. I feel like its a chance to say i love you neighbor.
    As a family we are worried about all paganism. Easter eggs for example.But for now we haven’t staked a hands off sign yet on the creepy strange weird celebration of dressing up and eating too much candy yet.
    We protect our children as much as possible but they all have come out with different opinions in the end. Jake now likes decorating the church and playing the carnival games and is super sad we miss it this year.
    I respect all of your points and do not object to even one. I just wonder how we reach the world without hangin out with them?

    1. Pam, thanks for reading and commenting. Like you, I’ve wrestled with the best ways to deal with the day. You ask a great question … I think there are a lot of ways to hang out with the “world” without having to compromise our faith or participate in evil and this can even happen on Halloween. Some of our friends have absolutely nothing to do with the day, except to maybe gather with friends and pray. I completely respect that.

      We, however, have always tried to be involved in opportunities to reach out, substituting scarey decorations for fall decor. Our neighborhoods have always been remote, so we’ve usually helped out at church events, but occasionally get to handout candy from home. One of my favorite events was in Monroe where several churches came together at the fairgrounds. Tons of people came because it was well done and safe. Interestingly, the location was next to a huge haunted house. Many of the teens from that crowd ended up in the church event and surprisingly, all on their own, seemed to sense the difference and took off the scary masks without anyone demanding it of them. And they always stuck around because we welcomed them.

      Our kids give us a hard time about not taking them door to door when they were little, but I’ve never regretted it since we didn’t know a lot of the people in the neighborhoods (besides they got far more candy at the church carnivals AND they were scared of all the decorations and scarey costumes – they seem to have forgotten that!).

      I know Christians who have built meaningful, evangelistic relationships with people they met through Halloween activities … I also know Christians who made a difference by completely setting themselves apart, causing curious friends to ask questions, which equally opened the door to evangelism. I think it’s a matter of praying and obeying and being okay that not all of us may have the same “assignment” for the day. =]

      As always, appreciate your thoughtful responses!

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