pumpkins & ghosts

Twizzlers, Twix, and Jesus

I used to have a nightmare every Halloween.

In the dream, my family watched in horror as the October sun set in our backyard. Then, swarms of ghosts emerged from the horizon, heading for our house. (They looked like Super Mario ghosts, since those were the only kind I knew).

Once the ghosts descended, they tried to suck out our souls as we ran, screaming. My grandma played a hero. She whacked most of them with a broom, until the sun rose and made them disappear.

When I grew out of the nightmare, it was replaced with a new one.

Come for Candy, Leave with Jesus

The church my parents took us to once stockpiled us with Jesus booklets for Halloween night. I remember sitting in the living room watching TV when one group of trick-or-treaters came to our door. My dad plopped a Jesus booklet into each of their candy bags.

That was the first and last time I ever remember trick-or-treaters coming to our house.

Even though I’m a Christian – and would probably agree with what the booklet said about Jesus – I just can’t imagine a sugar-lusting kid, gorging on his candy trove, picking up that booklet, and finding salvation as his mouth swelled with cavities.

Then again, maybe the booklet would help kids come to Jesus the day after, when their dentist injected them with novocaine and started gnashing their teeth with a drill.

Being “Christian” on Halloween

Halloween was a confusing time as a Christian kid.

I remember my dad carving jack-o’-lanterns and our family enjoying Halloween TV specials. But then my parents would pull me out of school before the older kids put on a show in their Halloween costumes.

I was told that Halloween was evil, and that it shouldn’t be celebrated. In fact, I was never allowed to go trick-or-treating. I became so embarrassed about it that when my classmates asked me what I was dressing up as for Halloween, I squeezed out made up answers. Eventually, one of my closer friends, Nick, found out I wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating. He felt so bad that he started sharing his batch of Halloween candy with me on the bus.

My Dad Used a Ouija Board

Finally, my dad told me a story about an experience he and a friend had with a Ouija board. I think his fear in communicating with an evil spirit was the start of why he was so adamant about not allowing us to “celebrate” what Halloween seemed to represent.

Don’t worry, I don’t have any psychological scars for never being allowed to trick-or-treat. But now, fifteen years later, I do enjoy the creativity and imagination of Halloween. I appreciate the elaborately designed settings of haunted hayrides/houses, and their progression of suspense. And of course, I still like carving pumpkins and watching Halloween TV specials.

If anything bothers me about Halloween, it would probably be those lawn scenes of demons committing bloody murder. Speaking of which, I should really take mine down.

2 thoughts on “Twizzlers, Twix, and Jesus”

  1. Hey Mike,
    My roommate and I were just discussing this topic. My thoughts are probably too long for a comment box. In essence, I understand that some people can celebrate Halloween in “harmless” ways. But I truly think people misunderstand the power of the spiritual world. Why should we give any recognition or invest any of our time recognizing a pagan holiday? Should we start doing this with other holidays of false religions as long as the way we recognize them is “harmless.” Your dad’s take on how to avoid celebrating Halloween may have been extreme, but his heart was in the right place. Why do Christians feel the need to “redeem” practices of the world such as this?

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