November 01, 2003

It's a Dead Man's Party!

WELL, HALLOWEEN'S OVER. Not that we took much notice of the whole thing. Oh, sure, we read a good book and quaffed down a few pumpkin-flavored beers along the way, but when all was said and done we came home and went to straight to bed. It was decidedly unspooky, but since the only bit of black magic we believe in comes once a quarter, we haven't been really excited about Halloween since we were thirteen years old.

In a way, this is rather unfortunate, because we always enjoyed Halloween Back Home Years Ago, as Scorsese put it. Now, looking back at things with an adult mind, we can't understand what the devil we were so excited about -- yeah, the candy was fun, and so was tramping about in the dark, as was staying up late on a school night. Still, even in our sanitized adult existence, we do see one redeeming feature of the day: it was the last day of fun before miserable November. As a child in western Michigan, we knew that once Halloween was done, we would not see the sun for six weeks.

That said, of course, we don't see why some folks are so worked up about Halloween as a supposedly evil influence. We never engaged in toilet-papering anyone's home. Neither did we egg someone's mailbox, nor did we soap folks' windows. The only truly un-Godly thing we did on Halloween was raise money for the United Nations, and that was because we attended a friendly but squishy church as a youth.

Yet there are apparently many folks who believe Halloween is a truly evil night, although we find their assertions weird and unsettling. Thanks to bloggers such as Scott Ward, we are informed of these peculiar arguments. Mr Ward does the yeoman's work of fisking one particular example, which tells the story of some otherwise God-fearing children turned into Satan's minions because Beelzebub's servants on Earth have spiked chocolates with razor blades and narcotics. All ends well when a reformed pagan informs the kiddies' parents of the trouble, and exorcises the budding signs of individuality within the children.

Quite frankly, we think such claims are intellectually dishonest and spiritually ridiculous. First, the anti-Halloween types don't pay any attention to April 30, the German Walpurgisnacht and another traditional day of evil. Secondly, we cannot believe that Lucifer is so stupid he would devise a plan that could be easily foiled by watchful parents. In our house growing up, we got no chocolate until our parents checked every last piece of candy, and confiscated all the Milky Ways as their handling fee. Thirdly, and most importantly, one cannot blame Halloween for societal acedia. Gad.

Now look. Beating up on a holiday because its tenets include A) family fun, and B) great third quarters for the world's chocolate firms, makes absolutely no sense. It also makes no sense to single out Oct. 31 as a supposedly evil day, when one could pick days at random -- let's say Jan. 8 and May 1 and June 12 -- and find a similar amount of evil happening on those days as well. So why exactly a minority of Christians continue in this counter-productive caterwauling is beyond us. We would suggest they lighten up -- or at least follow the very smart advice which Mr Josh Claybourn offers on the subject. If they can't do even those things, then they ought to find another holiday to revile. (We suggest Arbor Day).

No matter which course of action they take, however, we would strongly suggest having a few pumpkin-infused beers along with it. Enough of those will put even the most sour fellow in a festive mood!

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 1, 2003 01:17 PM | TrackBack


In the interest of fairness and accuracy the facts are that I only confiscated most of the Milky Ways. I let you keep a couple of them.

Posted by: Dad at November 3, 2003 11:40 AM