Cowering Behind Black Cats

I love glow sticks. You know, those little green things you shake and crack. They represent one of my favorite childhood memories: Halloween. Because, you see, my family didn't celebrate it. Instead, my sister and I hunted for candy and other plunder with glow sticks in our blacked-out attic. This way, we didn't feel left out of the trick-or-treating fun, but we also didn't have to participate in a 'pagan' event.

To this day, I have never trick-or-treated or even dressed up for Halloween. People often ask, "Do you resent your parents for that?" The answer is a simple "No. Why would I?" I think my parents did what any good Christian parents would do. They came up with a creative way to avoid compromising their beliefs. And I don't feel compelled to hold this against them. So, does that mean I'll carry on the tradition, and teach my children not to observe Halloween?

photo credit: meantux via photopin cc
I mean, what is Halloween really about anyway? Is it the Gaelic Samhain festival of the dead or the eve of Pope Gregory III's All Saints’ Day? Some people are bitterly divided over its pagan or Christian origins. But honestly, I’m not sure that it matters. Maybe all that matters is how you participate in it (note: I didn't say, "what it means to you").

Many people think that origins not just matter, they dictate. In other words, if Halloween is indebted to Celtic rituals of conjuration and witchcraft, then the entire holiday is tainted with evil--regardless of application. But that makes about as much sense as saying the son of a serial killer is destined to murder lots of people. I'm not saying that origins don't matter at all, they do. But perhaps they don't dictate as much as they explicate.

Do enough research about Halloween and you can learn an awful lot about the Druid rituals behind trick-or-treating. It explains why that custom exists today. And understanding something helps us know how to interact with it.

Married folks know what I mean. All spouses have baggage--the flecks of evil they bring to the relationship. Now we could avoid all relationships with people and thereby avoid all evil (I suppose), or we could take the good with the bad, focusing on the good.

In this case, what we get out of it is worth the exposure. A lot of my friends have great memories of silly Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating adventures. And it just doesn't seem right to condemn these moments for sleeping with the enemy.

Evil permeates this world. It's in you, it's in me. It's even in my two cats. Seems like it would be better to learn how to engage it and fight it, rather than cower behind black cats.