Monday, October 31, 2011

"Halloweenies, or How To Make Sure Your Neighbors Never Come To Your Church", a commentary by John Trammell

When I was a kid, I loved Halloween. 
What kid doesn't? 

I remember I loved the costumes, the fantasy of it all, dressing up, pretending, taking on the character of your costume, going out at night with your parents when young, your friends when older...and then, of course - The Candy. 

I loved the candy. 
What kid doesn't?

I was lucky, too. My parents didn't think Halloween was the devil. In fact, I totally could have dressed up as the devil, had I had an affinity for pitchforks, or the color red. My parents got into Halloween, too! They would take us out, both in our neighborhood and to the more affluent neighborhoods far, far from where we lived. My dad dressed up a few times. My mom hand-made some sweet Ninja Turtle costumes for us one year. They took us to Haunted Houses and Wax Museums. I loved it. 

They always let us eat the candy at our own pace, too. They encouraged us not to eat too much at a time, but it was ours to eat as we wanted. We didn't have to share. We would barter and trade, like peasants on market day. And the worst thing we had to worry about was getting bad candy - off brands, expired candies, the dreaded candy corn or those strange caramels in the waxy colored wrappers...where do people buy those things? There was also the ubiquitous urban legend about the unsuspecting kid who died when he swallowed a hidden razor blade.  So, when we got home, before we could eat even a smarty (a "rocket" for you Canadians), my parents checked the haul over for razor blades, syringes or evidence of tampering. 

We didn't have to worry about much else. I never once got an apple, an orange, a Red Bull, a tract or a mini-Bible. 

Have you heard about this? There are Christians out there, giving out tracts and mini-Bibles to trick-or-treaters.

When I was a kid, if someone was Anti-Halloween, they just didn't turn on their front porch light. We knew the sign. That's where the Mormons live. Don't dare knock on their door tonight. You're getting no candy at that house. Now, I'm not arguing for or against Christians celebrating Halloween. I'm not trying to say that we should completely ignore the dark, potentially demonic focus that comes with the un-holi-day. 

What I am saying is this:  don't half participate

If you're out, be out. If you're in, go all in!

Be the Christian in the neighborhood that gives out the best-awesomest-rockstar candy you can. Don't be a cheapskate, and give out crap-candy. Don't hand out the candy corns, just because they were on sale at Safeway! They were on sale for a reason... Don't give out tracts! Kids (and their parents) see that as a trick...definitely not a treat. Imagine that 12 year-old, standing at your door. He runs up the walk in his styrofoam Hulk costume, rings the door bell, and as your footfalls approach, he is praying for a King-Size Reese's. You open the door, smile politely and slip a pamphlet into his bucket, with a syrupy "Jesus loves you!"  That kid is going to walk away from your house not believing that Jesus loves him, but that Jesus hates fun and candy. I would have. 

I know, you want to be salt and light. I do too! If you really want to give out something Christiany, here's what I suggest doing: buy the best candy you can think of...not fun-size, full-size, print out a bunch of Bible verses on little slips of paper and glue them to the wrapper. Give out the mini-Bible, but duct tape a bag of Dorito's to it! 

That way, instead of communicating judgement or cheese, you're saying, "I'm a Christian. I give awesome candy, and I'd like to introduce you to Jesus."


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