Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate Halloween. Sure, I have the same reservations any Christian has, due in no small part to its origins, but also because it’s practically a celebration of evil, darkness, and death. I do like the costumes, having parties, and who can argue with going out and getting free candy and occasional other goodies (I wouldn’t mind going to a house that gave out really good mini-comics, trading cards, or small toys to break up the monotony, and you should indeed take that as a hint). If the day was set up to celebrate creativity and play rather than monsters and mischief, I could totally get behind it.
As a Christian, however, I’d rather see evil get a proper butt-whoopin’, which brings me to tonight’s entry. Back in 1992 (I guess, trying to find the release date wasn’t easy), Carman put out the song and video “A Witch’s Invitation”, probably the only Christian song I hear mixed in with regular Halloween music. A video was also produced, and while the demon effects are rather…well, it was the early 90’s and probably not a big budget video (you have to admire the set design, though, under those provisions), the end result is still rather powerful.
Other Carman videos, and the live concert he put out on home video, came up with some real good make-up for Satan and demons, so things would get better.
I do have pleasant Halloween memories, you know. I tended to avoid monster costumes (and I regretted the one time I did, but mostly because the mask was hot, the gloves made my hands sweaty, and what hair wasn’t pulled out by my school-based tormentors fell out on its own) in favor of superheroes. Yes, I had the cheap Superman costume, but I have three favorite Halloween costumes, and if I knew where pictures of them were, I might even post them.
(Full disclosure: it wasn’t for religious reasons. I wasn’t much of a spiritual person as a kid. I did, however, have zero interest in monsters who weren’t Muppets, and favored superheroes and various other forces of good against evil. Also sci-fi stuff. I’m sure I was a robot–maybe even C-3PO–at least once in my childhood candy begging career.)
What made these costumes so memorable? My parents (where I get a lot of my creativity from) made them for me, and they were leagues better than the costumes of my youth. Nowadays, kids get rather decent sewed costumes, although still of the pull-over variety. You know the costumes of the old days. Plastic backwards coveralls that had to have the name on them–although less blatantly as time went on–and the cheap mask made of a flimsy material that just barely made it through the night AND school festivities with a rubber band that may or may not snap half way during a “trick or treat” run when it wasn’t cutting into our heads. For those of you who don’t remember those days, have a taste. Today’s costumes are much improved.
I’m pretty sure when you totaled up the materials, the costumes my parents made me actually cost more than those things, so homemade costumes weren’t because we were poor or anything. My favorite was a Greatest American Hero costume. My mom used red sweatshirt/sweatpants together with gray fabric for the belt (held on with Velcro) and a black cape with red trim (plus some kind of iron-on material) to create a rather accurate version of Ralph Hinkley’s “magic pajamas”.
My dad was no slouch either, even though he couldn’t sew. He could, however, decorate a big cardboard box into a cuckoo clock costume (with a fake parrot standing in for the bird) and an old style telephone, with a working crank and a receiver you could take off of the hook. (They couldn’t tell time or make phone calls respectively, however.) It was light enough to walk around in (although your view is kind of limited through the doors he made), and squat down to hide in the box, so people might not even know it was a costume at first. (I think I actually fooled my grandma.)
So when it comes to play and creativity–and the candy, I can support Halloween as a fun night. It’s the whole “spooks and evil” thing I can do without. I’m a Christian and a proud supporter of good. We’re supposed to squash Satan. But have a happy and safe Halloween whatever you end up doing this year. (Hopefully not ruining people’s cars and homes.)
[For my fellow Christians: a few resources on how to approach this holiday.]