In the beginning, everything was inherently good until the Garden of Eden incident. Evil entered the world when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, and ever since then there has been an ongoing battle between good and evil. That’s rarely more evident to me than during this time of year. ‘Tis the season for all things spooky: monsters, skeletons, cauldrons of witches’ brew, and black cats. (Actually, all cats are creepy all of the time.) I’m well aware that with fall comes colorful foliage, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice concoctions, and of course football season (both real and fantasy), but most noticeably autumn brings forth Halloween. Thoughts of good vs. evil are always at the forefront of my mind around All Hallows’ Eve.
The season’s cooler temperatures and diminishing hours of sunlight tends to awaken something inside of me that’s typically dormant throughout the rest of the year. I instinctively begin craving the “darker stuff” from my eclectic compact disc collection. I find myself selecting music from artists such as Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson while classics from the likes of Kenny Rogers and Barry Manilow remain on the shelf. I also naturally stray from my normal afternoon routine of watching the abundance of wholesome comedies found on network television. I gravitate from viewing reruns of Leave It To Beaver and Dennis the Menace to watching numerous horror movies of the disturbing kind. I suppose all horror flicks are disturbing in their own right although I’m more of a psychological thriller connoisseur than I am a slasher film fan. One bag of Candy Corn: $2…One large pumpkin for carving: $5…Jack Nicholson in The Shining: priceless.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend dabbling in the things associated with “the dark side” especially if one is not firmly planted in His light. One of my favorite mottos is “if you don’t stand for something…you might fall for anything.” I’m rooted enough in who I am and what I believe to not allow the Devil to have his way with me. Satan has made an art form out of deceiving humanity since he first appeared in the Garden of Eden, but I’m on to him. I do realize the Deceiver has a knack for quietly entering through the backdoor instead of boldly announcing his deceitful intentions at the front. Being aware of the Evil One’s ways is half the battle, so I will not be fooled.
Admittedly, I simply like being scared. Obviously, I’m not speaking of the fear one would have after hearing a doctor’s dire diagnosis. I’m not alluding to the deep concern one might have for a loved one gone astray either. I am referring to the type of fear that stirs up an exhilarating, yet manageable, level of anxiety within: the kind I remember experiencing, as an adolescent, when aimlessly wandering about inside one of those haunted houses exclusively manufactured for Halloween. The anticipation of the unknown, waiting behind every door and lurking in every nook and cranny, was more than enough to arouse the hair on my arms even before setting foot in the makeshift house of horror. I’m sure I’d be just as anxious today as I was back then. Some things never change.
I don’t think trick-or-treating has changed much since I used to hit the streets, during the 70’s, in pursuit of free candy. Some might argue begging for a Snickers has become more dangerous in recent years, but I would have to disagree. I know I’m about to sound like that cranky, old man (every neighborhood has one) who can usually be seen, with raised fists pumping in the air, shooing all of the neighborhood children off of his lawn, but here it goes anyway: (use old man voice here) In my day we had to worry that a “flasher” might answer their door, and parents were compelled to check their children’s goodies, at the end of the evening, for concealed needles and razor blades…and we liked it! (stop old man voice here) I just don’t hear any of those concerns anymore.
Maybe it’s because parents have become too complacent these days, or quite possibly those evil individuals, desiring to do harm, were forced to give up their tampering ways. I imagine their annual unethical practice was severely hampered after so many hospitals began offering free x-rays of every little ghost and goblin’s collected treats. I reckon the final nail in the coffin was when some schools and churches, as well as the hospitals, began providing other alternatives to neighborhood trick-or-treating. My lovely wife and I (at my urging) took advantage of both. We’d take our son to the hospital, for a bag full of candy, and then I’d escort him around numerous neighborhoods for a few bags more. Hey, free candy is free candy.
I’m sure most dentists cringe at that sort of behavior, and most churches oppose Halloween altogether. I understand the depravity associated with All Hallows’ Eve; however, I believe all situations are what you make of them. For instance, one Sunday morning, when my son was around 10 years old, one of our pastors preached a very interesting sermon. The unorthodox message was about the whole “Satan can enter through the backdoor” concept, and he mentioned the beloved Pokémon cartoon as being one of the culprits. My ears instantly perked up because my son absolutely loved the Japanese television series. He boasted Pokémon trading cards, figurines, posters, t-shirts, and a stuffed Pikachu (his favorite character).
The missus labored over constructing a Pikachu cake, for his Pokémon themed birthday party, and we even got him a Pikachu piñata. Looking back, it seems a bit ironic our son was perfectly fine with beating his adored character into pieces with an aluminum baseball bat. I can’t recall exactly why the animated series was supposedly bad for the soul, but after careful consideration (about 13 seconds worth) I concluded my family could responsibly handle Pokémon in our household. My wife and I were just thrilled our son had finally outgrown his Barney stage. I don’t think choosing to celebrate Halloween is much different than the previously mentioned Pokémon example. Life has its good vs. evil battles although a majority of those battles need not even take place if our minds (and our hearts) are right with Christ. We are all assured of this: In the end, good will conquer evil.