That’s me having a bad hair day. It didn’t help that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
Okay, seriously now, I took my kids to a Halloween party on Friday at Yunker Farm and Children’s Museum here in Fargo.
This getup totally happened on a whim. The hosts invited us to wear costumes and though I was just going to go as myself (which would have been plenty scary), at the last minute I decided to have fun getting dressed up with my youngest two boys.
It was fun watching them watch me transform into a green witch. As I applied the green makeup and sprayed on the spray and blackened my tooth, my six-year-old watched me with admiring eyes. “That looks cool, Mom!” Far from being scared, I think he saw me as just wanting to join the fun and shed my mom-as-boss for a few hours in order to play the part of someone else.
“All in good fun, my pretty, all in good fun!” (Cackle…)
I’m going to sprinkle my post today with images from our time up at Yunker Farm, but I have a point to make beyond the cool photos of a fun October evening in North Dakota. There’s something I have to get off my chest.
I uploaded the same photo of me-as-witch onto my Facebook wall, and I knew that in doing so I was taking a risk that I might be offending some of my Christian friends. I understand that displaying Halloween and its associated ghostly images is seen by some as the glorification of evil.
Point well taken. I agree that the culture around us has confiscated the original intent of All Hallows Eve; that All Saints and All Souls days have been twisted and turned into something other than what they were intended to be.
At the same time, there may be another way of looking at it. I think it’s possible that by taking out all of the unbecoming elements of Halloween — yes, even doing away with the holiday altogether — we come close to convincing ourselves that evil doesn’t exist, when in fact it most certainly does. Or, as C.S. Lewis put it in The Screwtape Letters, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
The last thing I want to do is to glorify evil. I want to glorify and emanate goodness as much as I possibly can. But I also think we need to keep a balance on this, like all other things.
My sons in particular have always loved Halloween, even counted it as their favorite holiday. The whole “I get to dress up as someone powerful” is appealing to boys. The protector in them is finding an outlet. Though our kids’ first-grade teacher always has her class dress up as saints (which is adorable and appropriate), the boys always seem to ditch the saints costume for something scarier for the evening trick-or-treat session.
Over time of watching my boys enjoy Halloween, I’ve come to realize that there is something about this holiday worth hanging on to. Yes, if we don’t take time to seize the teachable moments, our kids can easily be led astray and be more attracted to darkness than light. But…if we recognize the evil in our world, and if, instead of pretending it’s not there, we meet it and shine our little lanterns of light onto it, isn’t it possible that we’ll have an effect? That our light will overcome it?
Pope John Paul II encouraged Christians to be courageous, to not be afraid. With this in mind, the more I think on it, the more I’ve become convinced that the scariest thing of all about Halloween is not the ghostly images that sometimes accompany it, but our attempts to make evil disappear by pretending it’s not there. Evil will always exist in this world, and more than ever it needs our presence as Christians to show that there is a better way. The way of love, light and life.
I enjoyed my time with the boys. I enjoyed driving in my minivan and noticing the curious stares and giggles of those whose vehicles ended up near mine en route to and from Yunker Farm. I enjoyed watching my little guys have a blast being someone else for an evening.
At the end of it all, awards were given for the best costumes. I couldn’t believe it when I heard the spookiest costume had been awarded to…the greenest witch in the house. Yeah baby! Two free passes to a movie at Marcus Theaters!
Though we need to be cautious of how we present the darker side of reality to our kids, let’s look for a way to do this that will help them be empowered to be the lights of love and hope we are here to be.
Have a Happy, Fun and Safe Halloween!