Halloween is the opposite of our other popular holidays. On Thanksgiving families gather together for an indulgent feast and endless football. On Christmas families put on matching outfits and exchange generous gifts. On Easter people purchase rich chocolates and floral dresses. For most holidays, we act rather put together. On Halloween, however, we are a bit more honest. There are no ornate decorations, only cobwebs; no special china, only disposable wrappers; no fancy outfits, only scull masks; no forced happiness, only honesty. What kind of honesty?
On Halloween we acknowledge that we’re all wearing masks — that we all put on an appearance for others, fearing what they would think if they saw our true selves. It’s cute when a child wears a mask of a witch or superhero — but what of the man who feels his job is a sham but every morning he puts on a new, starched dress shirt? the woman who feels her life is pointless but is always pointing out her designer purse? the person who feels like a completely different person when they’re in their vehicle? At least on Halloween we’re clear that the masks exist.
On Halloween we acknowledge that we’re all just trying to get something from others. “Trick or treat” the old threat goes. “Gimme what I want or I’m gonna get you!” On Halloween when going door-to-door there are no forced conversations, no just waiting to tell your own story, no nodding along while convinced the person you are talking to is an imbecile. On Halloween we just hold out our sacks with unwritten rules, “All we want from you is your candy. Put it in the bag quickly. You are permitted to comment on my costume, but then I’m on to the next house for more.” We later dump our loot out on the floor and evaluate our interactions with others based on what we got out of them — “Snickers! Yes!” “Another Tootsie Roll. Ugh.”
On Halloween we acknowledge that we’re walking through the dark, only getting through it by the light. It is a dark world covered in violence, greed, self-absorption, and ignorance. Most of the news headlines are plenty scary without having to invent vampires or zombies. Those who are far from God know only darkness. Without Jesus, we would be facing the grave in utter terror. Yet all people are hard-wired to seek out the light — to find a porch light on, a candle burning, a friendly, inviting face.
This Halloween, may you know there is One who loves and accepts you just as you are — even when all your masks and costumes are laid down.
May you remember you were created to love God and others, not just get the most you can out of them.
May you thank God for the Light of Christ which overpowers all the world’s darkness, which frees us from the horrifying trap of the crypt, and which compels us to invite others to Him.
“Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”” (John 11:25-26)