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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween: It’s more than just Candy & Demons

These two seem happy enough with the holiday.

As a child, Halloween never seemed like a big deal to me.  Sometimes my parents allowed me to dress up and go trick-or-treating, sometimes not.  Of course, I loved getting all that candy, but then my mother would take it all away, and then parcel it out later as she saw fit.  She claimed she was only concerned about my teeth.  Well, maybe she had a right to be, as every night my father took his teeth out of his mouth and put them in a cup.

This woman, maybe not so much.

In my teens, I remember all this tension between Church and Halloween.  Pastors, Sunday School Teachers, and Youth leaders all seemed to agree: Halloween was a pagan holiday, a celebration of evil spirits.  Churches held their alternatives to trick-or-treating, in an effort to protect the bodies and souls of members’ (and local) children.  One of my youth leaders even broke off a study he was preparing for us on the origins of Halloween.  He began to worry that, by delving so deeply into the subject, he had opened up a door in his psyche, and Satan, or perhaps one of his minions, had accepted the implied invitation.  Who am I to judge?  Maybe he was right.  Perhaps one of Wormwood’s fellow demons, from C. S. Lewis’ novel The Screwtape Letters, really had gotten his claws into my youth leader’s soul.

Maybe parceling out that candy is a good idea.

These days, I see Halloween as a celebration of Fall, and the first in the great American triple-header of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  We decorate our homes, dress up in costumes, and enjoy an evening out with family and friends.  We engage our imaginations, through costume-play (cosplay), carving pumpkins, making crafts and treats, and inventing stories that celebrate the holiday.  Some may dismiss Halloween as an excuse to eat teeth-destroying candy, or spend the day (and night) guarding their soul against demon possession, but I see it all as rather grand.  Halloween may celebrate the gathering-in of harvest, and thereby symbolize goals met and dreams achieved.  It may celebrate the cute, the scary, or the grotesque.  But for all that, it serves as a holiday in which we can renew ourselves and bring joy to others.  So go out and be a blessing to others today.  Well, all right….

Be a scary blessing.

Dragon Dave

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