“God please take all those little children right past my house and keep them safe! And open the spiritual eyes of all the folks at the gay bars to see the evil they are in the midst of!” This was my prayer every Halloween. Uttered with every single light turned off and me alone watching television far away from any house-front window.
I didn’t celebrate Halloween for over two decades. I had bought into the notion that it was a celebration of all things evil. I was quite vocal about how a true Christian couldn’t possibly participate in such a pagan/evil/commercialized/gay-high-holy-day.
Then, underlying all of that, was the current of knowing that all those trick-or-treating kids weren’t’ being evil, they were simply being cute. Also, the gay bars would be PACKED to the rafters. While my outer actions and true beliefs were just grrrrieved over the thought… truth is, I really wished I could hand out candy and then go out to the clubs to see the creativity and humor. I wasn’t really being loyal to God in my self-righteous October 31st boycott, that wasn’t the real question. What was truly happening was depriving of relationship and simple honest fun because of fear and toxic theology.
But no, as a “good Christian” I stayed home, in the dark, no porch light on, ignoring the neighborhood children going by in packs, eating my own sweets (I bought some sort of sweet for myself every Halloween.)
Interesting thing, one cool benefit of finally being at peace with being a gay man and my faith is that all the toxic theological spin on everything is brought out of the dark and into reality.
Like most things in life, Halloween is what you make of it. Some folks get super weird, scary and all kinds of things on Halloween… like this demon on stilts chasing me through the Parliament House courtyard. Strangely enough, he was pretty nice and handing out hugs later. Plus, how many times do you get to hug a scary looking dude with fake fangs in a rubber costume on stilts? If you say more than once, no judgment, but that might be a little strange. 🙂
Or, you can be two middle-aged men going to the bars as MirDanda Sweetly (Dan’s take on Miranda Priestly), Arm Candy Randy, and getting a photo with Flo. If you don’t know who Flo is, you are a poor culturally deprived child and she would probably say, “Kiss my grits!” so you will never forget her going forward.
Old voices emanating from the closet will say, “Any participation in darkness is idolatry and rebellion against God!” Again, Halloween is what you make of it. You are the one that either brings the darkness or light into any day or event. I am confident our Creator understands that His creation needs opportunities to break out of the norm and as a community just have a silly night; we need these opportunities to be in relationship and have fun with our community. It’s healthy.
The only real evil is the toxic theology that forces people through fear and guilt to sit at home alone, sad, ignoring the laughter of children and missing the creativity of adults.
This Halloween, go turn some lights on, buy a couple of bags of snack-size chocolate somethings and skittles. Be the kind and fun neighbor who showers candy on every little Princess and Marvel Character that comes to the door. Later, if you do end up at the club and see the big scary demon on stilts dude, don’t run. Just turn around and say, “Does someone need a hug?” and he will probably give you one and leave your soul in tact.
My new Halloween prayer is, “Thanks God for such a fun, loving, creative… and oftentimes silly… community.”