Halloween. I’ve tiptoed around the unholy holiday for years, decades even; some years just choosing to be away from home on October 31st; some hiding in the basement, and others, joining in with what everyone else was doing. Trying to find the fun in it; trying to ignore the very real evil I’ve learned—from frighteningly accurate sources—still occurs (and grows yearly) on Halloween. I reasoned that as a Christian, Halloween brought connection with people I wouldn’t ordinarily connect with. My participation showed that Christians could have good fun and offer good treats. We could even, were we so inclined, add an invitation to Sunday School or a Christian CD to the treats we handed out.
But, no. Just no. The Halloween jig, for this particular Christian, is up. I’ve been freshly convinced by my reading of Holy Scripture. Over and over, the Bible expressly forbids God’s people to flirt with the Enemy. When they did, the long-term consequences of mixing alliances always, always, proved fatal. On the positive side, scripture tells us when we resist Satan, he flees; but when we draw close to God, God draws near to us.
I’ve had to ask myself: Could there ever be a good enough reason to disobey God? Somehow I don’t think, “But those little devils (and decorations) are so cute,” will go the distance in God’s eyes. Besides, I’ve realized, there are three hundred and sixty-four other days on the calendar, and countless other ways to share Jesus’ love.
In all the years I tried to “fit in” with the safe “Christian way” of “doing Halloween” (so as not to appear odd or legalistic or simply uncharitable, I can’t think of one person—not a single one—who loves Jesus more, reads the Bible more, loves others more, is more just and merciful, because I participated. Or, for that matter, because our church offered “Hallelujah (or similar) parties” as a stand-in for Halloween bashes.
I’m far from perfect in my faith-walk, especially in loving others like Jesus, but the children in my life know I’m pretty fond of them, even if I don’t pass out treats on October 31st. The grandbeans, of course, but also the kids who wander into our yard to see Cash (the dog), or knock on the door to ask if they can come in and see the “dead owl” (Ford—our stuffed Great Horned road kill), or talk to Ernie, our parrot, or pet GraceCat.
Those children, smart and beautiful, amaze and amuse and inspire me. I miss the nearby ones during the long white season when everyone hibernates. And if, in years to come, they recall our conversations (at the door or on the rocking swing, or on the road as they encounter me walking Cash) at all, perhaps that will matter for eternity. And if I ever told them God loved them too, and reflected that to them, and they remember? Well, that’s not a trick. It’s truth. And a royal treat.