We were once the creepiest house on the block. The one that the trick-or-treaters used to avoid each Halloween. Every now and then, a few brave little souls would wander unknowingly up to our front door and open their bags, hoping for candy corn or chocolate. But boy, were they in for a trick. Because instead of chocolate, our family would give out Halloween-themed Christian tracts designed just for little heathens. Just seemingly cute little comic strip pamphlets that warned about the fires of hell for all those who don’t ask Jesus into their hearts.
Scary, I know.
The thing is, I was very young when I married, and eager to please my extremely conservative Christian husband, who was quite anti-Halloween. It was not easy for me, as I loved Halloween and all its spooky, twisted fun. I loved the slasher horror films, the haunted houses decorated with cobwebs and fake spiders. I loved getting the chills from listening to dark stories about Ouija board demon possessions and ghostly tell-tale hearts beating within the walls. And every year, I looked forward to seeing the parade of ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties coming up the front walk to beg for candy.
“Hooray! What imaginative costumes!” I would say, tossing mini chocolate bars in the air. “Chocolate for everyone!”
But as my now ex-husband used to say, Halloween is an evil holiday, and Christians should not participate. Didn’t I know that the Devil was hoping to buy the souls of children for a piece of candy? Didn’t I know that Halloween was chock-full of wicked pagan traditions, like Jack-o-Lanterns and bobbing for apples and divination (Which are apparently worse than the pagan traditions which many Christians follow during Christmas or Easter)?
You did what?!?
“It’s just candy,” I said. “And silly costumes. Is it really so un-Biblical to give out lollipops to little kids?” And so, as a form of compromise, we taped the lollies to those ridiculous religious pamphlets and handed them out to innocent kids. (Today, the very memory of having done that makes me want to hide my face behind a rubber mask in shame).
Later, when we had kids of our own, the strict Biblical rules for some reason ceased to apply to us, and I happily dressed up my children as superheroes and animals and the cutest little serial killers you’ve ever seen, and took them out to Trick-or-Treat. And to this day, they still love Halloween and all its deliciously evil pagan traditions. Especially the chocolate.
Candy. ‘Cause that’s the true meaning of Halloween.