Halloween: Why God “Personally” Told Me, “He’s Cool With It”

I don’t ‘profess’ to be the next Mohammed, Brigham Young or other person of someone else’s religious significance. I DO, however, talk to God on almost a daily basis. (He doesn’t talk back in words. . . That’d be creepy) In fact, in college I spoke to him A LOT. The conversation was almost always fairly one-sided, and went something like this: “Oh God,” (my head in a toilet) , “I promise if you let me expel this 5 gallons of Everclear, Budweiser and Jagermeister with as little guttural pain and with a significant reduction in ‘room revolutions’, I will NEVER drink (this much) again”. Unfortunately, (for me), that type of “bargaining” with the‘Big Guy’ rarely ended with the outcome I’d been requesting. It seems that the one that I choose as my ‘Higher Power’, doesn’t really like to barter with someone who doesn’t have a lot to bring to the table. In fact, when it comes to “God”, I think sometimes, if I’d been there at the“Last Supper” , I would have probably been seated at the ‘Kiddie Table’ with all of the other disciples’ kids, waiting for them to get around to passing us some of the “juice and bread”.

Now before I draw the ire of Conservative Christians , let me just say this. . . Why are you reading my ‘bit’?” . . . I’m kidding. There is room for just about anyone in “MY HOUSE” . I’ve tried to explain, in some of my previous entries, that I am fairly all-inclusive in the “Faith” department. But, there is one thing that I am having a problem with this year. Perhaps, more than I have in years gone by. I KNOW that there has been a definite “cautiousness” out there in the Christian Community, when it comes to how to approach the celebration of HALLOWEEN. For instance, the church that I belong to is having what some would view as a “Halloween Party” on the 31st of this month, but that is NOT what we are ‘calling it’. No, just to avoid any uncomfortable “philosophical entanglements” with some of the older parishioners in our congregation we are calling this little ‘get-together’ something else. My church has decided, this year, to have a HARVEST CELEBRATION. In California (especially in Bakersfield) there isn’t a whole lot of Fall Foliage lying about or hanging off of the palm trees . The other trees indigenous to the region also don’t take part in the Festival of Autumn Colors. There are Two Seasons here. . . Summer and Dead. blecch. . . As far as a Harvest? Well we harvest oranges, alfalfa and . . . well, let’s just say, if one wanted to fill a Cornucopia , it would be a pretty “Sorry-Ass” HARVEST representation.
HARVEST CELEBRATION? What is THAT? . . . The children of the church are still invited to wear costumes. There will be the traditional “passing out of candy” (though it will NOT be referred to as Trick or Treating) We will be doing it in the parking lot and handing out the goodies from the backs of our cars. I think they call it “Trunk or Treating” (To me a very dangerous and confusing proposition, “Hey kids! Get in the TRUNK! I’ve got candy! whaa mhuhhaaa haaa!) . . . It seems like we are going to an awful lot of trouble NOT to offend a handful of people. . . But WHY? That got me to thinking. (I know) Why isn’t the church THIS “bunched up” about Easter ? We have “Easter Egg Hunts”. . . The thing is, I know this isn’t just going on on a small scale. For YEARS the ‘Church’ has railed against a Holiday that they consider Pagan or somehow EVIL . Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my church-going experiences. But it’s not just MY church. It’s not even the CHURCH on a global scale. There are those out there that would have people think there is something a little too “Dark” going on with this Holiday. But I’d still like to know why ‘PEOPLE’ aren’t seeming to come out of the woodwork at Easter or Christmas (two ‘distinctly’ CHRISTIAN holidays) to rail against the commercialization of two VERY important days in the whole history of “GOD-dom”. Yes, I hear them complain about it, but I’m not so sure that isn’t because they aren’t just “cheap”. Santa and the Easter Bunny, to me, are more of an affront and blatant slap in the face to God, than dressing up like a Power Ranger or Hannah Montana and asking for candy. (I take one of those back. NEITHER of my girls will be going as Miley Cyrus).
THAT is why I decided to look up a little history of HALLOWEEN. To see what all the ‘Hubbub’ was about. Could something, that to ME seems so innocent and fun , truly have been derived from such sinister and despicable beginnings? Well maybe a little, but some of the ways we celebrate truly ‘Religious’ Holidays aren’t looking very ‘Divine’ to me. Like I said to God, just the other day, “You’ve got to be kidding me GOD (that’s what I call him-I tried Hank, and it didn’t feel right) Don’t people have better things to do than to be this persnickety?” I think that people that lock their doors on HALLOWEEN, because they ‘say’ they don’t believe in the CELEBRATION of ‘Hallows Eve’ are either cheap or. . . CHEAP. When God and I were talking, earlier this week, he didn’t say ANYTHING about not ‘doing up’ HALLOWEEN with my kids this year. For my household, it’s Game On. . . But in an effort to squelch some of the negative press that HALLOWEEN has gotten in my childhood and now in my kids’ childhood, I bring to you:
THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN (As Far as “I” Know or CARE to Know)
Okay, apparently from what I could find through various sources (Wikipedia) , HALLOWEEN is actually loosely based on an End of Summer Harvest (oh) Celebration, Samhain,(pronounced: WHo~cares) in Ireland, dating back about 2000 years. What they did before that, is beyond me. I guess they just picked their crops and “chilled”. But someone, along the line, decided to throw a party and that started the whole thing. I’m guessing it was a bored Celtic “20-something” , that was set to take over his dad’s farm in a couple years and decided if he was going to have to take over the family business, that he wanted to get “good and liquored-up”. It also coincided with their New Year on November 1st (another reason to get liquored up-It’s New Years! Woo Hoo!) . It is said that these Celts were big on their deities (uh oh, Christians) , and built huge bonfires to honor them. They were even known to throw some of their cattle and livestock on the fires as a sacrifice to their ‘Gods’. (To me, this just sounds like a big “Kegger Party”. The Celts got drunk and decided to have a barbeque ) I understand these ‘parties’ also became the introduction of the “Halloween Mask” . The farmers would often wear Animal heads and skins while trying to tell each others “fortunes”. (To me, still NOT evil. Just a “Frat House” Kegger Party. They probably ‘tipped’ the cows, before they ‘made with the steak-eatin’)

Now. . . somewhere along the line, around 40 AD, the Celts got their “asses handed to them” by the Roman Empire (notorious at the time for handing out the “asses” – except in ’88), and there was a bit of confusion. The Celts (now quite drunk from years of Harvest Binge-drinking) were defeated and the Romans moved in on their “turf” and subsequently all of their PARTIES. They kept a little of the same Harvest thing, but incorporated their OWN DEITIES . By all accounts, other than the Celts no longer being in charge of ‘Celtic Stuff’, it remained business as usual. Kind of a Pagan and Roman hybrid “Free-for-All in the Fall” , I think they called it. (no) But, as far as I can tell, Not a Lot in the way of EVIL . I mean, they were worshipping God’s I’ve never heard of, and that as far as I know, aren’t represented by any of the “costumes” hanging on the rack at my local WALMART .

I should, in interest of getting my story straight, tell you that this time of year in both of these cultures, also seemed to be a time when they felt the line between “Our World” (the Living) and “Not Our World” (the Dead), was a little “blurred” . But NOT, in like, a BAD way. It seems as though it was more like a period of time when they thought they could communicate with those on the “Other Side” a little more clearly than say . . . in February. (To me, also “No Biggie”. I don’t buy into it, so how does it affect me? That was a LONG time ago and for the record, Parker Brothers still makes a Ouija Board .) I’m not thinking that anyone was trying to summon Malfador or anything. But even if they were. . . I enjoyed the movie “Witchboard” . It was a MOVIE. It even had “Patch” from ‘Days of Our Lives’ in it (and Tawny Kitaen – YEAH, bro) At any rate, I’m still not seeing how this impacts my children’s sugar consumption or their right to be scared out of their minds at our annual “Scary Movie Marathon”.

But, lets get to the “meat” of where I think this whole MISUNDERSTANDING started. Around 800 AD, or so, a ‘New’ PARTY PLANNER decided to come along and “change things up”. Pope Bonafice IV decided that everybody needed to stop getting so “faced” around farm machinery and chill out. Because of all of the farmers losing their lives in combine accidents, he thought it was a good time to introduce a national “Sober-Up and Remember the Saints Day”. They decided to celebrate this. . . by building. . . huge bonfires and wearing masks (irony?) of Angels, Saints and Religious Martyrs. (none of which, do I find readily available at WALMART. The closest thing to an Angel is a Tinkerbell thing my daughter’s been eyeballin’)

So what am I getting at? Well, for starters, I think that the whole “Pope” thing, that happened, was a day meant to try to counterbalance a “Secular” Holiday. From my “research” I found that the day he meant to be ‘All Saints Day’ , didn’t even really take off right away. He even tried to ‘double-up’ on combatting the secularism by tacking on an additional “All Souls Day”, on November 2nd. . . Yawn. . . I think he may have been better-served to try to keep the chocolate bunnies out of the Celebration of the Resurrection of Christ or maybe keeping the Department Store Santa lines to a minimum the week before Christmas at the mall. I KNOW. . . malls weren’t real big until Pope Leo XII.
But let’s get REAL. HALLOWEEN is for the ‘kiddies’ , people! It’s not for the adults ! Except when we’re doing something with our kids. It is especially NOT for those that decide it’s time to go back and try to find their “Celtic Roots” by dressing up like SPONGEBOB , “tying one on” at a HALLOWEEN Party and then driving home through streets packed with kids. They may find themselves in the “clink” staring at the bottom of a “not-so” stainless steel toilet, talking to GOD on their own. . .By the way, did I mention he’d rather talk to you when you’re sober and usually doesn’t like “cutting deals”? If you don’t run over a kid or kill yourself. . . your deal has already been brokered. Sleep tight my little “Kings of Dumbassville and Queens of NotaClue“.

I think it’s kind of funny that rather than call our party at church a HALLOWEEN PARTY, we’ve opted for the more conservative (and CELTIC) HARVEST CELEBRATION. Either way, it’s not going to affect the way we Celebrate at home. We are still going to fill up on the candy. We are still going to watch the scary movies . We’re still going to turn off all of the lights and not answer the door. NO, not because we’re CHEAP, because we don’t want to perpetuate such an EVIL Holiday. What kind of message would I be sending my kids. . . or YOURS?

‘Til Then. . . Go Figg’r!

Peace Out – Later

PS I did the above pic for last year-It’s now our “Halloween” card! Talk at ya’ soon!
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