Tuesday, October 07, 2008


October is hands-down my favorite month of the year. I do believe that NYC is in a dead tie with Springfield MO as far as beauty and ... well those "things" that make October what it is: Changing leaves, crisp cool air, pumpkins, candy, pulling out the winter clothes, kids scuffling around with their parents in the fallen leaves, Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. Then after Halloween, it's a straight shot to Christmas.

For me, it may be the most "fun" time of the year. Could be because it is also the month that happens to hold my birthday. I am a Halloween baby. And yes, it is the BEST day to have a birthday. Built in party.

I suppose it's one of the reasons why I don't mind kids dressing up as scary things. (Within reason.) My parents got all fundamental on my 6th birthday and made us dress up as Bible characters. Lame. Lamola. (sorry for those of you that do this.) Of course when I wanted to dress up as the Beast of the Armageddon, (my older sisters had been secretly reading me Revelation to scare me,) my parents said no, so I dressed up as Noah. Only problem? Every single man in the bible looked the same. I tried to argue with my parents, "it feels like Christmas or Easter, not Halloween." To me, Christmas and Easter were the Church Halloweens since we got to dress up then too.

The Church Halloween party that year displayed one of the most unbelievably boring array of costumes in the history of Halloween. Every single boy wore a robe and fake beard (the poorest of us just markered-in a beard,) and every girl looked like Mary (all three Marys.) One kid got lucky and dressed up as a Centurion, cool plastic sword and everything, but when he wouldn't stop taking swipes at the Jesus' with his sword, his mom took his sword away.

One poor girl tried to dress up as Sarah and dressed up pregnant and old, but when she told us who she was, she got cold, blank stares, and "who the heck is Sarah?" (We were pretty young and I doubt she even knew until their parents explained it the week before.)

So, we were all different characters, but we all looked the same, except Sarah, who nobody knew and she got tired of explaining it to people by end of the night, especially to other grown-ups who at first mistook her for Mother Mary... They must have thought it was weird idea for the parents of that girl to make Mother Mary look all old and ghoulish.

To top-off the good times, we had to SIT THROUGH A SERMON... before we could get our dadgum candy. Yes, it sucked all for one and one for all. Finally, the candy made it alllll(most) better.

So what about you guys? Are you into the "dressing up your kids." I understand if you are not, seriously. I know I just jabbed at my folks, (after that year it was all star-wars costumes) but I get it. Some people get all antsy about their kids going in for the ghost and goblin, or just dressing up in general, but for me - I was naturally inclined to be horribly afraid of things - dressing up always served as a way of realizing that all that stuff wasn't really waiting underneath my bed or looming just outside my window. Somehow seeing the neighbor boy, Chester, dressed up as Dracula de-fanged my nightmares.


Electric Monk said...

Man, I hear ya. I, too, am a Halloween baby and think there is no better day to have a birthday. Who else gets to walk around and make people give you candy on your birthday? (Apparently, it's frowned on once you hit 30).

My son's school requires them to dress up as animals and they do a Noah's ark program. It's better than Bible characters (could you have been the talking donkey?), but I still really want him to dress up as Yoda so I can be Obi-Wan. Otherwise, I'm gonna look silly wearing my Obi-Wan costume by myself.

Chaotic Hammer said...

I'm perfectly alright with parents who choose to be protective of their kids when it comes to Halloween. There's so much stuff out there that pushes the envelope, just for shock value. If parents feel it might do genuine harm to the spiritual or mental/emotional well-being of their little ones, then God bless them. It's already hard enough to be a parent with all the other junk out there today, and this is just one more thing to have to make decisions about.

But having said that, I didn't raise my daughter in this over-protective sort of way with regards to Halloween. My parents never did that with me either. They let us dress up as whatever we wanted (within reason), attend whatever haunted houses or parties we wanted (again, within reason), and never made us choose the alternative church-based activities, even though my parents were Christians that raised us to believe in Jesus.

For the Christian, I think participation, or non-participation in Halloween for the most part falls under the realm of matters of conscience, like "meat sacrificed to idols" in the Bible. For me personally, Halloween is a secular holiday, and my memories of Halloween are of fun and silliness and candy, and maybe a little mischief. But nothing soul-damning or truly evil or serious.

Seth Ward said...

Yeah, I surely don't fault parents for avoiding the horror show, but at the same time, it's not the devil's birthday. (It's my birthday!)

Kids love fantasy and Halloween is the time where they get to dress up as Luke Sywalker, Darth Vader, Superman, Spiderman... etc.

For me, it has always been a time in which people get out and be neighborly when they normally are not. If parents want to dress their kids up as Noah, I have no qualms with that. I hated it, but that doesn't mean some kids wouldn't like it.

Halloween is for kids. Parents busy themselves too much in trying to make it about themselves and their own fear and hang-ups.

Fork said...

A couple of years ago I went to a Halloween party with a costume contest. I wanted to bring my friend Kristen and thought we could go as a pair.

We wound up going as Elijah and Jezabel. I thought we would win for sure.

We didn't. Everyone just thought we were weird.

Super Churchlady said...

We used to wear our scary Halloween costumes to church on the Wednesday night before Halloween. No one ever thought a thing about it. I guess back then we had less "real" things to be scared about.

Seth Ward said...

We did too! (Before and after my parents went through a short-lived "pbs-is-evil" phase. They laugh about it now.) To me its just good fun. It all stems from the four main different viewpoints Christians have on culture/music/art.

The purists position: In this view, Christians should use culture as a tool of spreading the gospel of Christ to others.

"The 'spiritually reflective' position" :
This position states that Christians should embrace cultural things more as an art form than a preaching tool. T-Bone Burnett, a Christian musician and producer, summed up this view well when he said that "You can sing about the Light, or you can sing about what you see because of the Light. I prefer the latter" (More of an argument for art than cultural events.)

Category 3. The incidental position:
This position holds that the event or holiday's intent is irrelevant. In other words, Christians can find beauty and truth in certain things, regardless of the event's intent or spiritual stance. (Christmas and Santa Clause fits here as well. I'm sorta here, subjectively...)

Category 4.The separatist's position:
This position states that Christians should not be participating in "secular" culture at all. Many that embrace this argument trace things like Halloween's roots to Satanism, and claim that any association with it is wrong.

rhon said...

Hi Seth,
I link over to your blog from my sister's blog (Super Churchlady)sometimes and find your comments insightful and hilarious (frequently at the same time).
When I was a little girl, we went to a small Southern Baptist church in East Texas. One Halloween, we had an all-out spook house with each Sunday School department having their own scary room. We had big pots of stew cooking in cauldron-type pots,and everybody who attended (young and old) dressed in a costume. Now that was a fun church party!

majorsteve said...

I was at that church spook house. Although I was only about 6 years old, I do remember that it was genuinely scary, rivaling many of the secular haunted houses of today. There were the eyeballs to feel in the dark bowl (peeled grapes), and the guts (slimy spaghetti), blood splattered knife wielding psychos approached from eerily lit Sunday School rooms, screams of agony from somewhere nearby...Whew! I gotta calm down here.

stephonix said...

i grew up in a church where we'd have "harvest parties"...which was basically a halloween party, we just couldn't call it that. our church would encourge you to dress up, but again, it had to be bible related.

when i was 11 i totally rebelled against the "lets dress like mary or martha" and i went as the plague.

so much fun. (c:

Electric Monk said...

A couple years ago our church had a game night on Halloween night. You weren't supposed to dress up or anything, but my wife wore a Darth Maul outfit, complete with brutal face paint. I think a couple of the old ladies in the church were ready to perform an exorcism.

Seth Ward said...

Rhon, up until that one year, WE DID TOO! It was so awesome. Those were the good old days of the SBC. Days when everything wasn't evil and a little fun never hurt nobody.

stephonix, the plague, that sounds fun! How did you pull that off?

E. monk, I've thought about Darth Maul a few times myself but I'd be too afraid of scaring the crud out of some of the elderly ladies. I might as well dress up like Obama.