Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Ghost of Halloweens Past


The first year I lived in North Carolina, I noticed that my landlord's children didn't come trick-or-treating, so I prepared three big bags of candy with black cat and little ghostly decorations and took it across the street.

Their mother angrily informed me, "Halloween is from the devil. We don't celebrate Halloween. And Jesus hates Halloween, too." She refused my offerings and shut the door in my face.

This entire family, including Grandma, traveled 200 miles each way every Sunday of the year to attend a church where they could handle snakes and talk in tongues. This was an enormous commitment as it took time away from squirrel hunting. Their preacher healed penitents with holy oil, which allegedly poured out of his pores when he was in a healing frenzy. His flock all carried tiny squares of cloth saturated with holy oil from his very body in case the need to heal someone came on suddenly, miles from church.

I've been wondering about this ever since. We know Jesus was Jewish and knew how to party. (When did "party" become a verb?) Well, anyway. Look what he did with wine. And how about that Holy Ghost?

In America we have the doctrine, if not the practice, of separation of church and state. Depriving children of Halloween seems so very cruel, so un-American, even. How can bobbing for apples be evil? (Do they still bob for apples?)


But maybe I'm just bitter. Nobody came to our door this year. We live in an apartment. There are no kids in the building. No one can enter without being buzzed in by a tenant. And I'm feeling really sick from scarfing all those Reese's Peanut Butter Cups I bought, just in case, myself. The devil made me do it.

14 comments:

Lee said...

I've always been amazed by how the most religious people seem to be the most susceptible to Satan. You'd think their halos would ward that pesky demon off!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

"Methinks the lady doth protest too much."

Anyone who is seriously worried about Satan could use his time better trying to do good in the world, regardless of the specious reward of heaven or the punishment of hell. (Both of which, I might add, are more than likely just other words for our earthly experience.)

Organized religions seem to encourage competitiveness and intolerance, while justifying them with doctrine. How can anyone seriously believe in a God who prefers one group of people to another? This seems quite inconsistent with the idea that there is a God and that He made us all.

monicker said...

Awww, we never get trick-or-treaters either. And speaking of unruliness, what's your take on the whole Castro brew-ha-ha?

Seriously, the line about squirrel hunting, though - I'll be chuckling about that all night.

Lee said...

I am on your exact page Hearts! Good to know there are others! ;)

thethinker said...

There are religious groups who go from door to door in our neighborhood, on the afternoon of Halloween, to warn us against the evils of Halloween and all that it stands for. So, I gave them a bag of candy and sent them on their merry way.

urban-urchin said...

Oh man- snake handlers? Yikes. Those people give normal Christians a bad name. I feel sorry for those kids- that was really nice of you to bring them candy.

I think a lot of churches get around the Halloween thing by calling it Fall Festival or something along those lines but don't disallow the kids the fun.

Dan said...

I think you should have visited your neighbors dressed up as the Virgin Mary.

The would have rocked!

mist1 said...

Bobbing for apples is not approved. Unless instead of water, the apples are floating in Purel.

Did your rent go up?

Sinner.

Crankster said...

You know what's really funny? Most people probably think you're joking about the North Carolinians.

Hearts, you totally nailed it with the above response. What gets me is that hardcore Christians don't seem to get the point of Christ--tolerance and love. Really, how hard is this to figure out?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Monicker,

Rabbits, too. Not just squirrels.

I don't know much about the incident in the Castro. We had thought of going but didn't make it. Now I'm glad. I've always heard it was a fabulous event.

Lee,

We were separated at birth. Didn't they tell you?

Thinker,

You always make me laugh. They couldn't have been Jehovah's Witnesses. Those guys are so scary they don't even eat candy. It's blood they're after.

Urchin,

I think the talking in tongues would be creepier than the snake handling, if they weren't Rattlers. It's kind of a toss-up, really.

Dan,

I wish I'd thought of it. The Virgin of the Chickenfeed and Mars Bars. It could work.

Mist,

You would think so, but no. They lacked enough wit to make the connection.

It's very deep. Devil Woman. More money. I lucked out.

Crankster,

Western NC is very beautiful, but we didn't belong there. My young daughter was stood up in front of her class by a teacher who said, "Children, the Jews killed our Lord Jesus, an' this here is one of 'em."

Any religion that teaches hatred is probably not being practiced by the book.

Odat said...

Firstly, is there anywhere you didn't live? lol
And what a terrible thing to do to your daughter...it just goes to show how ignorant and short sighted these fervant religious "madmen" are. I'm glad you moved!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Odat,

God, yes.. Anyone who would ostracize and humiliate an innocent child could not possibly be following the dictates of any authentic religion. It's sad and shameful that atrocities, big and small, have always been committed in the name of God/Allah/Whoever.

katrice said...

Craziness, I tell ya. The jury is split 4 ways on Halloween in our house. It always creeped me out as a kid, not because of the ghoulishness. I love the paranormal and supernatural. It was the going door-to-door begging that turned me off.

Christianity is really very simple. Why must psychos make it so hard?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Katrice,

My mother had issues with the begging for candy, too. I did it anyway. I didn't like candy much, but that wasn't the point.

Yes, Christianity is simple and beautiful as written. Too bad so many people can't read. The same basic principles apply to every religion and to good people who have none. Interpretation is everything.

I think a lot of people consider the Ten Commandments the Ten Suggestions.