The other day I was cleaning the kitchen. It was a long and frustrating task. You’ve heard of people being color-blind? My family is trash-blind. They do not see trash. It is invisible to them; it blends into the flotsam and jetsam of all the stuff surrounding it. So I was tidying up. I found the hotdog rolls in the hotpad basket. I found a hard crumpled roll behind the breadbox. I found two (2) empty papertowel tubes. Yeah, I don’t know why the person who was kind enough to replace them with a full roll of paper towels was unable to take two extra steps and throw the empty tubes away … but there you have it … trash-blind.
Then I found this:
Emergency Vampire Garlic
Yes, that would be LightGirl’s handwriting.
I almost fell out laughing. I will keep this for a long, long time. Maybe it *will* keep the vampires away. Kinda like clapping your hands keeps the polar bears away.
Later on LightBoy and two FlamingLambs came through giggling and laughing, chattering happily about what Halloween costumes they had planned this year. LightBoy is going to be a dwarf, one FlamingLamb will be a devil, I missed the other descriptions. They all inspected the garlic and agreed that it was an important addition to the kitchen. The conversation continued as they discussed a neighbor girl who does not celebrate Halloween, “… she’s Catholic and thinks Halloween is of Satan. She just follows what her church tells her to do without thinking. But she’s nice anyway.”
Wow. Out of the mouths of babes. We used to not *do* Halloween. We used to go along with the whole Halloween is evil thing. I never quite understood it, because I’ve always known about the real history of Halloween and understood it’s roots as All Hallows Eve … that is the eve for All Saints Day. I’ve always understood that the history behind dressing up in costumes and putting candles in hollowed out pumpkins was in order to frighten evil spirits away, not call them down. In any case, in this day and age, I was always a little confused about the whole evil spirits running rampant on Halloween thing anyway. It seemed a little … well … medieval.
On the other hand, I didn’t want to make waves over something so insignificant. So we went along with all of it. We kept our children safe and sound and went to “Harvest Parties” at church. Truthfully, I never saw what the difference was. All the children got dressed up, ran around getting pumped up on too much sugar, and came home with bags full of candy. The only difference was they’d stayed in one place doing it … and had boring, dorky costumes.
Then I got belligerent. If there truly was something wrong with Halloween, we plain old weren’t going to do anything at all. One year we went out to dinner with friends. Another year we went to the mountains. Then I began to realize … there’s nothing wrong with Halloween. So we decided to celebrate it.
My kids have been pirates and witches and cave people and this year LightGirl wants to skate as a vampire. She is infatuated with vampires this year. There is that last tiny part of my brain that wants to me to be afraid of this. The rest of me is assured that this is a phase. In part it is a phase of exploration of something new and shiny. In part it is to test me and see if I will holler. So I just look at her when it comes up and try not to roll my eyes at the ridiculous makeup.
Here is the other reason I am unconcerned. I know her heart. During the years that we did not do Halloween, I was told that it was important to keep my children safe so that they would grow up to be “Godly.” I’m still wondering what that means. I thought I knew what it meant at the time. At the time, what I did know was that it was important to keep my children separate in order to be safe and thus become “Godly.” If they were not separate they would lose that chance … somehow. It was a weird and strange logic as I began to really think it through. There were some sane underpinnings to it, despite the oddness. But the stark command that I could not get past without bruising my forehead on it, was this:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ‘There is no commandment greater than these.”
I began to consider that loving God and loving our neighbors included living and being amongst them … including on Halloween. That there was nothing to fear. And so … there is nothing to fear. Including vampires. LightGirl’s heart is wonderful. She is of an age now where she is struggling through who she is and what she believes. She is discovering what her faith is and what it will become. But I rest easy in the fact that she has the heart of a Jesus-follower. She does not know this yet, but she loves God and she loves her neighbor. She has learned and is learning the role of being a light in the world. I see this played out over and over again as she brings her teammates together on her hockey team. It is a remarkable thing to see 11 or 12 eleven, twelve and thirteen year old girls who get along and do not form cliques. The parents all shake their heads in wonder at this … but I know that a very small part of the reason is that LightGirl wanders amongst them with her shepherd’s heart looking for the lost sheep; pulling them back into the flock. And that is the best vampire protection of all.
The October 24th SynchroBlog includes 26 people sharing their thoughts, their experiences, and their expertise on the subject of “A Christian Response to Halloween” (or at least something remotely connected to that idea.) Perhaps not all the writers are Christian, and that is actually even cooler. Please check out these offerings of love, and gore…uh, I mean lore.
The Christians and the Pagans Meet for Samhain at Phil Wyman’s Square No More
Our Own Private Zombie: Death and the Spirit of Fear by Lainie Petersen
Julie Clawson at One Hand Clapping
John Morehead at John Morehead’s Musings
What’s So Bad About Halloween? at Igneous Quill
H-A-double-L-O-double-U-double-E-N Erin Word
Halloween….why all the madness? by Reba Baskett
Steve Hayes at Notes from the Underground
KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent
Hallmark Halloween by John Smulo
Mike Bursell at Mike’s Musings
Sam Norton at Elizaphanian
Removing Christendom from Halloween at On Earth as in Heaven
Vampires or Leeches: A conversation about making the Day of the Dead meaningful by David Fisher
Encountering hallow-tide creatively by Sally Coleman
Kay at Chaotic Spirit
Apples and Razorblades at Johnny Beloved
Steve Hayes at Notes from the Underground
Fall Festivals and Scary Masks at The Assembling of the Church
Why Christians don’t like Zombies at Hollow Again
Peering through the negatives of mission Paul Walker
Sea Raven at Gaia Rising
Halloween: My experiences by Tim Victor’s Musings
Making Space for Halloween by Nic Paton