Halloween. A day for ghosts, goblins, little kids dressed in dime-store costumes ... just how seriously do we take this "holiday?"
Most evangelicals ban the word Halloween from their vocabulary. A good friend of mine talks about how her church-going parents hid in the basement on Halloween with the lights out, refusing to answer the door or allow their own treat-or-treat starved children to go out. (That in itself is pretty scary, if you ask me.) Some, however, have a church party and encourage their children to dress up like Bible characters.
Anyway, then there's the other extreme. People who create haunted houses, visions of Hell, and demonic-looking costumes that frighten even the most avid party-goers. And what's with all the gory movies on TV this time of year? Just flipping through the channels with the remote creeps me out.
Thing is, I'd venture to say most folks want to have fun with Halloween and don't consider it any more real than Santa Claus. Or the man in the moon. My dear friends, Dena and Blair, are doing the Harry Potter theme this year. Next year they say, it's Pirates of the Carribbean! What fun. Their whole neighborhood gets into decorating and they have a blast. I personally plan to enjoy the little kiddies who come to my door for their treats. But even Dena has had a poltergeist moment, as of late. (See Dena's blog of October 18th. http://www.blogsbydenaharris.squarespace.com/)
There's no harm in pretending there's no such thing as monsters, ghosts, boogie-men, or a crazy witch who flys on a broom. Or a werewolf that howls at a full moon. Come on. Not real. Right?
Well, there are some of us, who know better.
There is another side. And the only reason I say that, is because members of my family have experienced it. In small, non-threatening ways. And so have I. Things that go bump in the night. My brother, my mother, my niece, and I have all experienced a paranormal "happening" at some point in our lives. And I believe my sister has, as well. Something that could not be explained away. Something that no matter what anybody said as it being a figment of our imagination, we knew ... this was real.
These "happenings" often show up in my stories. (Read Southern Fried Women.) But I also know ... where there is darkness, there's light. My belief system is strong in that for every demon, there's ten thousand angels to conquer it. Fear is a strong manipulator. And normal people go out of their way to live those normal lives without thinking about being afraid of things they don't know about. Halloween gives them a chance to have fun with their fears. It's a way to say, "Hey, this is all in fun!"
And for the most part, it is.
But somewhere, in the back of my mind ... I remember the time the hair on every square inch of my body stood at attention when my mother told me about the demon that appeared on her closet door while she was holding her infant son and said, "You can't have him." If you knew my mama, you'd know ... she's not some lunatic or druggie or crazy woman. But my mom has had numerous wild experiences with the real thing. Maybe because she's so child-like in her faith and her belief system. And because, my mother is not afraid of these things. She knows how to call on God. Believe me. She believes in the "things we cannot see."
So when you talk about Halloween to me and my family, we allow our children to live free from fear, and enjoy the "holiday." They've had bucket-fulls of candy to spill after canvassing the neighborhood. And they've all watched a spooky movie and dressed up like Frankenstein or Dracula at some point.
But sometime during our lifetime, the line between real and imagined gets fuzzy. That's when we call Mom. Or Grandma. She prays. Hard. She's the real ghostbuster in our family.
I'm not sure how to say this without sounding overtly religious. This is my favorite scripture. Enjoy your own brand of Halloween!
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6
Blessings to you and yours.