Here’s something to scare you. When you hear “Trick or Treat!” outside your door…there are fifty-five days left till Christmas Day.
And they seem like many, many less.
It’s interesting to me, to see churches shy away from Halloween, calling it the “devil’s holiday.” Growing up in the church in the 1960’s, I remember our church basement being the site of many Halloween parties. Girl Scouts, all the Sunday School classes, and our youth group all had their chance to eat candy corn and bob for apples. No one ever saw it as anything more than a reason to have fun and dress up in silly costumes.
In fact, one year, one of the choir members, who was a talented actor, dressed up in a witch’s costume and made a guest appearance. She was a big hit, coming in with a witchy “Ha ha ha ha ha!” and staying for a few minutes to talk about her cat, her broomstick, and her spells. Her best improvisational response? One of the children asked her if she could fly. Thinking quickly, she responded, “Not while I’m near a church. But once I get away from the church, I can fly!”
Halloween, back then, was a minor observance on the calendar. It never lost sight of a sense of fun and the view of witches, ghosts and goblins as folkloric figures that represented our fears. Somehow, it also seemed miles away from Thanksgiving–and definitely from Christmas. How perceptions do change!
Halloween, of course, makes light of our fears of the unknown–even as it celebrates all we have. We display pumpkins and corn–symbols of the harvest–and give sweets in thankfulness that we have the ability to share what we have and enjoy our lives.
The progression of the three autumn holidays is interesting. Halloween is about overcoming fear in a spirit (sorry!) of playfulness. Once that fear is overcome, the theme of celebrating our blessings deepens with Thanksgiving, as those harvested pumpkins start showing up in spicy pumpkin pies. And the idea of giving and enjoying our lives comes to full fruition during the Christmas season, when we get the chance to celebrate a beautiful season with those we love.
So…BOO! And hope your Halloween is a happy one.