Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why I Celebrate Halloween

 As I'm sure happens every Halloween season, Christian bloggers everywhere start spinning out the same posts - Halloween is evil... it's Satan's holiday... you're going to hell if you celebrate it... blah blah blah.

Well first - hogwash. The pagan holiday which Halloween spun off of may have been evil. But we're not pagan. Do you really think God is so stupid that He doesn't realize we're not worshiping Satan when we hand candy to a little child, or when we let our children dress up as princesses and goblins and whatnot? Why do people always seem to forget that God sees what is in our hearts? When He sees our child dressed as a witch, He knows this is still His beloved child. A witch costume doesn't turn a child into a Satan worshiper.

Why I Celebrate The Second Most Evil Holiday of the Year (election day in the US is #1)

All these beliefs aside, allow me to explain why I celebrate Halloween. Halloween is my favorite holiday. It is my favorite time of year. Why? Well, the easy answer is that this is the time of year when I have the most good memories. The long story...

1) My birthday is the day before Halloween. So, my birthdays usually involved something Halloween related.

2) Until I was 8, my dad was a single dad. He was always the one to DJ the Halloween dance in our town. He and his crew went all out - decorating the entire stage in the theme of the year (one year was dracula's castle, with the receiver and turntable tucked inside a hand-built coffin; one year it Star Wars...). As a single dad, with no babysitter, my sister and I ended up accompanying him - and falling asleep next to the speakers. Those are some of my best memories from when I was young.

3) After my dad remarried when I was 8, I lived in fear every day. I'd wake up in the morning walking on egg shells, afraid to make too much noise or step out of line, because I didn't want to get beat. I went to bed at night, fearful that I might have done something wrong that would cause my parents to drag me out of bed at 2am by my hair (an act which happened fairly often).

But for some reason, Halloween was off limits. I do not remember ever being beaten on Halloween. Christmas Eve, yes. Christmas morning, yes. Easter, yes. But not Halloween. My parents loved making homemade costumes for us. They loved taking us out around town. They loved having all of us as a family decorate the house in webs and black lights and spooky music.

Halloween was a time for family bonding and love. All of us kids had such a wonderful time together. There was a freedom that I cannot explain in dressing up like something else. And, in being able to act like myself. I never felt I had to hide the real me on Halloween.

4) Halloween actually saved my life.

My 18th birthday was not a good one. I was a senior in high school, attending college full time for the rest of my high school credits. My depression and personality disorder traits (I was not diagnosed with anything other than "showing certain disorder traits" when I was 18) had really gotten their hooks in me. I'd already tried killing myself a couple times. The day after my birthday - Halloween - I was just going through the motions. I could barely pick myself up to pretend I was enjoying this day... this favorite day of mine. I hadn't even dressed up.

Then, who should appear at my door, but a couple of my best friends (and about half a dozen of their friends). These guys knew I'd had a rough birthday. They knew things weren't going well for me. So they came to my house to "save" me and steal me away for the night. My parents were definitely not happy, but allowed me to go. I honestly believe that if it hadn't been for these friends showing me I was loved, and showing me a good time, and letting me just be myself for the night - I wouldn't have made it.

Halloween Is Not About Evil

Halloween, like any day, is what you make it. If you make it evil, then yes, it is evil - for you. If you make it about a good time, then that's what it's about. If you make it about love... which is how it's been for me for so many years... then that's what it's all about.

For the past 3 or 4 years, my Halloween has been spent at my church - we feed the kids a free meal, then have games (bowling, 'fishing', a duck pond... typical carnival style games) where everyone wins little prizes, and then we go outside the church where dozens of cars are lined with their trunks open, giving away candy and small gifts. Tell me, how is this evil? How is gathering a group of wonderful children and their parents together a bad thing? How is having a Youth Group bust their tails volunteering with games/watching children... without any payment or incentive other than to help young kids have a good time... satanic?

Tonight, I will be at that church volunteering my time... and 4 of my teenagers will be there volunteering their time... along with a dozen other teens and parents... to help the children in our town have a safe and fun evening filled with food, candy, laughter and love.

May God be with everyone tonight, and I pray you all have a safe and fun Halloween!

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