I was talking to a friend the other day and the subject of Halloween came up in conversation after discussing how seemingly all the Moms in Atlanta were infiltrating my favorite Kroger and clogging up the candy aisle when all I wanted to do was get in, buy some paper towels on the adjacent aisle and get out of there. Her response to me was that “they ought to be shamed for even participating in that devil worship disguising it with candy.” Hmmmm.
Immediately I flashed back to my childhood and thought about all the times that I nagged my mother to dress me up as (in chronological order) – Batman, Superman, Red Skull from Marvel Comics, a grown up, a baseball player, Superman again, a chef, and Charlie Brown – in a deft attempt to procure candy from neighborhood residents, even the crazy one up the street that had a pellet gun and sat on his porch shooting squirrels to take indoors for dinner (no, really, his name was Mr. Herman!). Mom would always dress me and give me the seal of approval with a smile or a thumbs up before sending me and my friends on our way through the neighborhood and remind me that I’d better be home before it got “fully dark” or I was in trouble. However now I am aghast as I learned that I my Mother was trying to undermine my baptism and acceptance of Christ as my savior at age 9 by sending me outside to participate in Mr. Goodbar induced devil worship. Is trick or treating as a child and pre-teen the reason I like rock music so much? Is walking up and down the block dressed as Willie Mays when I was 12 the reason I curse sometimes when Matt Ryan throws an interception on Sundays? I’m extremely hot natured and I sweat at the drop of a hat *gasp* it might be because I went to that Halloween party when I was 13 and got to slow dance with Annette Hayes in Fran Walls’ parent’s basement?
Honestly, I don’t mean to make light, especially when I have good friends that hold the same way of thinking as the young lady I was talking to recently (trying to save my “friends” numbers here) and I realize the roots of the day aren’t steeped in Christian tradition but it seems a little heavy handed to me to condemn people to an eternal hell in the name of Kit Kat bars. We then had what I like to call a “page flipping” conversation that I have often with my friends where I have my Bible on one end and they have theirs on the other and we have an impromptu Bible Study right there on the phone. I was directed to 3 John 1:11 which…
(in my Baptist preacher’s voice) “Reads, uhhhh, thusly from your King James Bible. Uhhh, when you have it, say Amen. If you don’t have it yet, just say ‘hold on, Preacher'” *pages flipping throughout the sanctuary*
Seriously, the Bible states “Beloved, follow not that which is evil but that which is good, He that doeth food is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” In layman’s terms it basically says do not imitate what is evil which is something that we can all agree on but then this. I asked if her baby girl ever felt left out when the other kids get candy and get to dress up as Shrek or Cinderella or Wonder Woman, her reply was, “No, we do that at Church this weekend. The kids will all get candy there.”
Okay, I get that, I really do but when you do the exact same thing isn’t that the very definition of “imitating” what is considered evil? Or is it because we refer to it as “Hallelujah Night” or “Harvest Festival” that makes it completely different? Do you not think that kid walking down the hall with a plastic pumpkin full of enough sweets to keep him/her bouncing off the wall until well after midnight isn’t smart enough to know what it really is? When I was a kid, we had a function at the church like the one my friend was talking about, I especially remember the one in 1980, that was the summer of the Missing and Murdered Children here in Atlanta (Wayne Williams didn’t kill all those kids, by the way), everybody was always indoors early. I can’t remember what it was called, probably something along the lines of Hallelujah Night or Harvest Fest like aforementioned but trust when I got to the house and was counting out the goodies please believe that wasn’t Hallelujah Night candy or Harvest Candy in my plastic pumpkin…that was Halloween candy I was about to get down on. My mother fully believed in train up a child in the way that he should go and when he gets old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22 for you Heathens out there LOL) and she did just that, miraculously it was not undone by the candy
Anyway, we went from Deuteronomy to 1Timothy to Hosea and back over to Thessalonians and had a stalemate. I respect the opinions of all my friends, ESPECIALLY, when it comes to their walk with Christ. I ain’t bothering nobody there because ultimately at the end of the day we, as Christians, have to know the rules for ourselves. But I figured, since I have amongst my circle of friends, people that are fire baptized preachers of the Gospel and people that are afraid they will start a fire if they step into a church, this is as good a shot at discourse as I’ve got with a diverse group of folk in an effort to understand one another.
Plus, I’ve already had three Kit Kats today that I got for Halloween and I need to know if I need to assemble a prayer circle for my soul.
~thanks for reading
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