One of the things I have noticed since living in Flint is the enthusiasm surrounding Halloween. My neighborhood in particular is insane. We have a guy a few blocks down who covers his house In a haunted castle facade complete with a graveyard filled with all sorts of goblins and ghouls. The house two doors down always has a sound system complete with voice alteration with which he scares all of the trick-or-treaters as they come around. It really is quite the spectacle. We even have families stop to watch the show. This year however, I have come to see it in a new light.
Take for instance my neighbor two doors down. Not only does he have the sound system, but he also has his teenage sons and their friends get in on the act. They are dressed like zombies and add to the over all “ambience” by trudging in and out of their yard and the cul-de-sac in order to scare people. But think about it….here is a dad getting to have fun with his kids and their friends on Halloween. They are staying out of trouble and making memories all at the same time.
And then there is the guy who decorates his entire house; my boys refer to it as the scary evil man house…what about that guy? Well we finally decided to go to his house for some candy this year and see what all of the fuss is about. I have never seen anybody enjoy having kids come to his door and marvel at all the stuff than this guy. He really just relished the whole festiveness of the evening. He even comforted my four year old as he was a little anxious about approaching the house.
Even as I am writing this I am thinking about all of those who feel like Halloween is a dark holiday to be avoided at all costs*….and I respect your opinion, but think with me for a moment. Put yourself in the place of a child. You’re telling me that for a day I get to dress up like someone else, go around to my neighbor’s houses and they give me candy. It’s almost kind of magical. And I think that this might be what is happenings with the instances referenced above. These adults are still looking for that bit of magic found in child-like wonder.
I have always looked at scripture a little differently and I hope you will amuse me here. To me, one of the saddest verses in all of scripture is found in I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” So often we think of this as the natural maturation process, but what if it is talking about the loss of the natural wonder and love that come with childhood? I think all to often we are ready to grow up and we miss the joy and simplicity of living that can be seen through the eyes of a child.
So maybe that is it. Maybe the treat is found through the trick of seeing the word like a child. And maybe holidays like Halloween can be enjoyed in a new light.
* on another note. Sin, death and hell were defeated through the cross and resurrection, so this being a “dark” holiday poses no threat to those who are in Christ.