KARI’S COR­NER

Hal­loween - pa­gan hol­i­day or good clean fun?

The Covington News - - News -

A dozen or so years ago, my hus­band and I at­tended a church that taught against the cel­e­bra­tion of Hal­loween. The pas­tor said it was the devil’s hol­i­day and that by ac­knowl­edg­ing its pres­ence on the cal­en­dar, we were turn­ing our backs on God. I wasn’t sure if I agreed, but I was mor­tally afraid of be­ing wrong. In ret­ro­spect, I don’t know why we stayed so long in a church where we found our­selves fre­quently ques­tion­ing our pas­tor’s be­liefs. I sup­pose it was be­cause the con­gre­ga­tion treated us like fam­ily from the day we first met, and when you’re a young mil­i­tary cou­ple in an un­known city, you crave those kinds of con­nec­tions. But a few years and an­other move later, we be­came par­ents. And con­tin­u­ing to skip Hal­loween made me feel like the Grinch. When I was grow­ing up, Hal­loween ranked just be­hind Christ­mas as my fa­vorite hol­i­day. It was even bet­ter than my birth­day. I loved cre­at­ing cos­tumes and trans­form­ing my­self into some­thing I feared, or some­thing I al­ways wanted to be. My dad worked 60 to 80 hours a week, but Hal­loween was the one night he al­ways came home early in time to drive his daugh­ters around the neigh­bor­hood to trick-or-treat. It felt so de­li­ciously wicked to be al­lowed to walk around out­side at night —some­thing we were never al­lowed to do oth­er­wise. Each front door was ap­proached with ex­cite­ment to dis­cover what good­ies awaited us. We never seemed to tire on those cold Oc­to­ber nights. My over­worked Dad would be ready to head back home, but we’d al­ways beg for just one more neigh­bor­hood, just one more street. And my sweet, stub­born Dad, whose mind isn’t eas­ily changed, rarely re­fused his girls. When we went shop­ping dur­ing our anti-Hal­loween phase of life, my hus­band and I felt pangs of nos­tal­gia when we saw the pump­kins, candy and cos­tumes. We knew that we had to re­search the hol­i­day for our­selves and de­cide what we were go­ing to teach our kids. The Hal­loween that we grew up cel­e­brat­ing al­ways cen­tered around cre­ativ­ity, imagination and play­ing pre­tend. It pro­vided vir­tu­ally un­lim­ited ac­cess to treats we didn’t get the rest of the year. It had noth­ing to do with demons or witch­craft or sum­mon­ing spir­its of the dead. It was just good, clean fun. The more I stud­ied about the hol­i­day — and the shared pa­gan roots of other hol­i­days most Chris­tians ob­serve, such as Christ­mas and Easter — the more it struck me that Oc­to­ber 31st is what we make it. I’m not go­ing to dance naked around a pen­ta­gram, slaugh­ter black cats and sell my soul to the devil. I will kick back and laugh my way through “It’s the Great Pump­kin, Char­lie Brown” for a gazil­lionth time. I’ll rekin­dle my child­hood love of cos­tume de­sign as I help my kids de­cide what to wear, and sneak Reese’s peanut but­ter cups and Dots gum­drops out of their bags af­ter they go to sleep. I like to think that Hal­loween is one of the most neighborly days of the year. In this era where peo­ple are of­ten un­ac­quainted with their very own neigh­bors, how won­der­ful to have such an easy op­por­tu­nity to knock on their doors and in­tro­duce our­selves. I al­ways feel torn on Hal­loween be­cause I love walk­ing my kids around the neigh­bor­hood, but I also love an­swer­ing the door and see­ing all the won­der­ful cos­tumed chil- dren. I know they must bring huge smiles to the faces of the el­derly, shut-ins, or oth­ers who re­ceive few vis­i­tors. I’m not one to buy into the pop­u­lar opin­ion that there is no ab­so­lute truth. But I think Hal­loween is one of those is­sues where we — Chris­tians in par­tic­u­lar — need to re­spect peo­ple’s right to form their own con­vic­tions about the hol­i­day. I don’t have time to delve into all the com­men­taries that led me back to Hal­loween, but if you’re in­ter­ested, just shoot me an email and I’ll send you some links. Leg­end says that spir­its are more open on All Hal­lows Eve. I can’t wait to fill mine with the joy that abounds this mag­i­cal Oc­to­ber night.

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