Friday, October 31, 2008

Participating in Things of Eeeeevil

Last Sunday, I went up to "Constance", a little seven year old girl in our church who is simply adorable and is everyone's favorite. She was playing around on the piano between services, and when she stopped and turned around, I said "Constance, are you excited that Halloween is almost here? What are you going to be for Halloween?"

"I'm not going to be anything for Halloween," Constance said solemnly. "The Bible tells us not to part...part...participate in things of eeeeevil."

"Er, uh, yeah," I said, thinking quickly.

You see, many Christians are divided on this subject. I've always felt it was fine for my kid to trick-or-treat, and I even encouraged it. But there is no doubt that over the last 35 years or so, Halloween has become a much darker holiday than the Halloween of our childhood (or our parents' childhoods).

Because so many people now associate Halloween with violence and evil, many Christian parents are discouraging or outright banning their kids from what was once merely a way to dress up for a night and get free candy.

"Why would you ask me something like that?" asked Constance, curiously. It was a pretty reasonable question, really. From her point of view, I was asking if she was going to be truly naughty, and I sounded as if I was encouraging that.

"Well," I answered, "Some people think it's OK to trick-or-treat and some don't. In our family, we never minded it, but we've always understood why other people don't want to."

"Did you ever trick-or-treat?" she asked, watching me closely.

"Yeah, all the time," I admitted. Her eyes widened as if I'd just confessed to killing babies and drinking their blood. "BUT," I added quickly, "it was different in my time."

"How?" she asked, genuinely wondering. "Didn't you have skeletons and monsters then?"

"Yeah, we did," I admitted, "But it wasn't as real as it is now. It's gotten really gross since we were little. When we were kids it was more like... like cartoons! We never saw anything really scary or nasty back then." (I didn't tell her about the Jimmy Carter costume that I once saw, which was both).

My kid finally stopped trick-or-treating this year, but it's only because he's over 6 feet tall and people frown on adult-sized trick-or-treaters. He didn't really mourn the loss, as he's also grown to dislike the holiday and feels it's become way too sadistic.

We went to the Bush Gardens Howl-O-Scream last year, but we both grew quickly disenchanted with such joyous celebrations of violence and cruelty. At that point, we decided we were done with the holiday, although we still give out candy and snacks for now.

And, like many other people, we have yet to decide how much of this we want to continue to sanction. And, if we continue to participate, are we (as little Constance fears) participating in things of eeeeevil?


Uncle Joe said...

Help me.
I'm a captive in my own house.
I've turned out the lights but little demons are still scampering through my yard!

daveawayfromhome said...

You cant really blame Halloween, which is as much a victim of our national obsession with blood and gore as our cinemas are.
As long as we watch films and read books about slaughter and horror with the same glee that many reserve for sex (and many have the same respect, unfortunately), Halloween will continue to be disturbing rather than fun.
There's nothing inherently terrible about pretending to be a witch or a vampire or some kind of monster, as long as you arent doing so because you want to be one.

The inability to see that point is what has ruined a lot of things for kids - like "tag". Or Halloween.

On the other hand, Halloween is a socialist Holiday - after all, did those kids earn that candy, or is simply being redistrubuted from the people who can afford it to people who cannot?

The Lazy Iguana said...

Does the bible ban all forms of fun???

Yes, it does. Apparently. Which is one more reason I had decided to reject it by age 10.

People who believe in monsters are mentally ill. There is no such thing as witches, goblins, zombies, wizards, vampires, ghosts, ghouls, and so on.

It is ALL fake.

People who think this harmless fun is "evil" are in need of medication, and should NOT be allowed to breed.

But I am not emperor of the world yet. Once I am, this planet will be a much more sane and peaceful place.

Halloween is a time for kids to dress up like whatever, have fun, and score free candy. For adults it is a good excuse to get loaded at a party. I actually look at Halloween ad the start of the holiday party season.

People who want to piss on everyone else's parade are free to do so. But then again I am free to piss on them.

Harmless fun is all it is. UNLESS some kid decides to toilet paper your house because you handed out cheap candy.

By the way - my word verification is RACHEL. Really. Rachel.

I think LISA is a hotter name. I have always been partial to non fat chicks named Lisa. For some reason.

If she has red hair, green eyes, and are named Lisa.....well then I am helpless. If she wants all my money, my truck, and even the power catamaran - she will have it. I am that easy.

But that is another issue all together.

A rachel will have to work harder. Unless she is also very hot. In which case - as I said - I am easy.

Scott said...

I say it is all good fun, just need to relax and enjoy the night for what it is. FUN

Jen - Queen of Poo said...

I'm a little schizophrenic about Halloween too. In the past we spent it at church, but I noticed some of the costumes there were just as gross as out in "the big bad world" and we were still celebrating. Now? My kids trick-or-treat around the neighborhood, and all the neighbors ooh and ahh at each other's kids, and it's all good. Like you, I completely understand why some decide not to observe the holiday at all, though.

The Doozie said...

Maybe people don't understand that "EVIL" does not wait for Halloween night to present itself?

And the same people who ban their kids from participating are the ones that let their kids watch movies and play video games with the same characters in them who are "evil" on halloween.


Thats my word for the day

Anonymous said...

I think Halloween is a good example of what a simple holiday can become if left to people. It's way over publicized now. It's also how companies are trying to boost profits and supplement their Christmas income. So companies have ruined that. Then there is the whole, "it's evil" thing. For goodness sake is the Equivelant of Christmas Eve. It's ALL HALLOWS EVER the day before All Saints Day. I'm not into saints, buy I'm just saying.

Then there is the over sexed costumes. If you are a girl you have to be slutty. Why?

So, people ruin stuff.


Uncle Joe said...

If last nights Halloween turnout was any indication of the upcoming election turn out I'm going to run out of spread the wealth money much sooner than anticipated.

word verif. is imphounp
which I think if I type will bring forth a lesser known Egyptian demon.

exMI said...

I like Halloween. I regret teh fact that they discourage adults from getting costumed up and going out on the street. It is fun.

Is the word verification thins a tradition now? bralkn. Some place in central Europe east of the Balkans.......

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Halloween for me, shows up the silly contradictions of Christianity, but then we must remember many Christian festivals are dated to tie in with pagan ones, Halloween being a survivor of course.

AQ said...

I don't see Halloween as a socialist holiday. No one forces me to hand over the candy. I can shut my lights off and lock my door if I want to. I can give one piece to each, or pour handfuls into the trick-or-treaters' bags. When the government requires that I purchase candy, tells me what kind, and then mandates that I open the door and distribute a predetermined amount to the people the government deems needy, THEN I will consider it a socialist holiday.

mckay said...

yikes, ag! don't give obama any ideas...

my son had a blast dressing up as indiana jones and i had fun being a leopard. i enjoyed walking around the neighborhood saying hello to people i rarely see.

why doesn't someone invent a national neighborhood block party day?

Three Score and Ten or more said...

We decorated our yard with pumpkins, flowers, scarecrows and bales of straw, and bought lots of candy to distribute. Unfortunated we spent most of the evening in the Emergency Room, arriving home after the last of trick-or-treaters had surrendered. WE now have a vast amount of sugary, tooth destroying, caloric treats that we are trying to give away to the neighbors (or anyone else). At least no one did damage to my house even though the lights were on and no one answered the door. (I shudder to think what my reaction to that situation would have been sixty or so years ago in the days of outhouses and soaped windows.)
My word verification is pherspe. No humor there at all.

Jungle Mom said...

Saur, I have great memories as a kid and also see that things have changed. Halloween to me is much more a cultural event than anything evil. I have not lived in the US in so long I can not really respond knowledgeably, but I would be more concerned for my kids physical safety then their spiritual safety.
Also, some people seem to consider all Christianity to be tied with the history of the Roman Catholic church, which is not the case.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

They only went and invented it before all the heretics got involved...

Saur♥Kraut said...

Uncle Joe, Re your first comment: Welcome to parenthood.

Dave, Very true. And I love scary movies just as much as anyone else. To a certain point, I should add - I never saw the Saw series and don't intend to. I believe it to be too sadistic.

Good point about the socialist holiday. But then, really, aren't most? At Christmastime everyone gets presents (whether they're good or bad - coal went out a long time ago).

At Easter, the Easter Bunny doesn't discriminate either. And, as with any socialistic program, you will always find rotten eggs hidden away somewhere only when it's too late.

Lazy, Not really - the Bible doesn't ban fun. The Christians *I* hang out with have more fun than anyone I know: Paintball, sailing, boating, parties, picnics, get togethers, etc.

But, the Bible DOES ban evil. The question here is whether Halloween is good clean fun or evil. And, as Dave points out, it's dipping more over the 'evil' line than ever before. You can't blame the holiday - we ARE a nation obsessed with horror.

Scott, That's what I'm inclined to say. And the majority of costumes this year weren't violent. I saw MORE CUTE KIDS this year than ever before! My boyfriend joked that with the economy, their parents must be sending them out of the house to get what they can. ;o)

Jen, Yeah, you get it. I did see SOME gross costumes this year, but was really encouraged to see that the most were absolutely adorable!

Doozie, Good point.

Knot, OH so VERY true! We had 3 cute little girls on the edge of woman-hood who were dressed like whores.

As we gave them candy, one asked me if I thought she looked like a slut,since others were telling her that she did but she was supposed to be a rockstar. Was she trying to shock me? If so, it didn't work.

Without batting an eye, I told her that it DID make her look like a slut, but since all rockstars are sluts, she still had the theme down pat and that she looked 'absolutely adorable.'

That deflated her, which was pretty funny to see.

Uncle Joe, Re: Your second comment: I thought I was about to run out, and then suddenly it all stopped. I bundled up the rest of the candy and gave it to our friends' kids. I'm sure they're still cursing us.

Exmi, That's the best thing about being a parent or grandparent - the ability to get dressed up and get silly with the excuse that it's for the kids. ;o)

Daniel, Interesting that you should bring up the pagan festival ties with Christianity because you're right, but also wrong. A certain BRANCH of Christianity is tied very much to pagan holidays, and that's Catholicism.

For example, as a compromised with the pagans, the Catholics created Easter, which we all celebrate. It was originally a tribute to Ishtar, fertility goddess of the Egyptians.

Christmas is the wrong time of year, as scholars think Jesus was born in the spring. But the Catholic church wanted to abolish the Winter Solstice ceremonies, and so they started to celebrate Jesus' birthday at that time, instead.

But although other Christian faiths/denominations still usually celebrate these holidays, they mostly know little to nothing of these origins. And those that DO know simply celebrate to honor Jesus and reject the pagan roots that the Catholic church originally tolerated.

SOME Christians will celebrate Easter but not participate in egg hunts (symbols of fertility harkening back to Ishtar). Frankly, I adore egg hunts and decorating eggs and I think it's a shame.

And SOME Christians won't put up Christmas trees, due to the association with tree worship. I think that's ... bleak.

In my humble opinion, true Christians understand that God has given us great freedoms and that as long as we're not actually worshipping trees, eggs, Ishtar, or you-name-it, we are entitled to enjoy ourselves.

AQ, ahhhh, excellent rejoinder!

McKay, Block parties are SO much fun!

3Score&10, I am SO SORRY to hear of the hospital run.

Jungle Mom, Dittos and beautifully said.

M@ said...

Why would you ask me something like that?" asked Constance,

--Allow me. "Because, Constance my dear, the vast majority of Americans participate in Halloween, aside from some fringe evangelicals such as your family."

That's what I tell people who don't celebrate Christmas. Ninety-four percent of us DO!

The Lazy Iguana said...

Saur - "But, the Bible DOES ban evil. The question here is whether Halloween is good clean fun or evil. And, as Dave points out, it's dipping more over the 'evil' line than ever before. You can't blame the holiday - we ARE a nation obsessed with horror"

Why must you hate on America so much? We are a nation obsessed with horror?

No, we are a nation obsessed with CAPITALISM. Stores stock that sells. SO if all you are seeing is blood and horror - well that is what is selling! The only thing forcing this on anyone is capitalism.

We are not a Christian nation - not by a long shot. We are a capitalist nation that tries to pretend that "Christian values" are so important to us.

As long as those values do not get in the way of making gobs of money.

This is why I laugh at people who claim people like me "killed Christmas" or that banning religious displays in public places killed Christmas.

No - the MALLS killed Christmas. By turning it into a month long shopping spree. Grandma getting trampled in Wal-Mart as a mob rushes at the stack of cheap crappy DVD players for $20. Shootings in parking lots over parking spaces. And so on.

Religious displays were taken out of malls so quickly because they are not profitable. Santa is, because then you can ask your kids what they asked Santa for then go buy it. And the giant tree with the tons of fake presents under it is also profitable. It makes people think that is what their tree needs to look like. Only the boxes all wrapped up will have stuff in them - and not just be empty.

Jesus did not sell the loaves of bread and fish to the hungry mob for a profit. He redistributed the bread and fish to feed that mob.

Maybe what America needs is more "socialist" holidays.

Think about that.

Saur♥Kraut said...

m@, True enough, although they're not fringe evangelicals. There are MANY that agree with them, although I don't.

Lazy, I could not agree with you more!