Remember that song from the Pet Shop Boys, “It’s a Sin”?
Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to it’s a sin….
This song plays continually in my head as Halloween approaches. On what is supposed to be a day of fun and mischief, my home transforms into the scene of an acrimonious feud between my fundamentalist Christian mother and myself.
Every Halloween season features a reoccurring episode of my mother preaching to my kids of the inherent evils of the Festival of the Dead and the grave consequences awaiting all wayward children who tempt God’s wrath by donning costumes and collecting candy door-to-door.
“We are Christians and we do not celebrate death, evil spirits, witches, or the devil!”
Every time she starts to preach , I can almost hear “Ave Satani” in the background.
In her misguided mind, celebrating Halloween condemns the soul to eternal damnation.
In Honduras, or at least in the old days, Halloween was vaguely understood as a tradition practiced in the US only. My sisters and I sought to replicate the American holiday by trying to create our own costumes on a few occasion but were unable to go trick-or-treating. Halloween just didn’t exist there.
Now, Halloween is a big thing in the U.S. Just like Thanksgiving, I’m fond of these holidays. I forget this is part of the big consumerism culture we live in and just enjoy watching all the neighborhood families enjoy fun quality time together. My kids know I have something prepared for every occasion. I want to create warm memories and traditions for them to cherish as they grow up.
While my mother rolls her eyes at my youngest son running around the house in his pirate zombie costume, reminding him of the hellish punishments to come, I remind her how hypocritical and sanctimonious her behavior is.
We have known the true origins of Halloween for years. Some believe that it’s a celebration of the dead, while others believe it is descended from old pre-Christian practices founded by the Celtic Druids. Add the urban myths about candy filled with glass, apples injected with poison, and you have the perfect recipe to keep your kids scarred for life. Most churches have even acquiesced to the celebration of Halloween, as the holiday has long-since shed its pagan & spiritual significance.
I believe in living a devout life founded upon an intimate relationship with The Almighty; like a second father. You confide your deepest thoughts and feelings and implore his blessings and forgiveness. And he is always there to listen and offer his divine guidance, albeit in the most mysterious ways. But at many churches, we are taught that a great many of the things that make us humans are one-way tickets to hell.
Who wants a God who uses fear to garner love and trust? I grew tired of these churches and the people bending the words of the scriptures, concealing their insecurities and passing unfair judgment on others. I personally resent people who see fit to pass judgment on innocent silly kids whose only aim is to have fun and load up on candy.
I try hard not to have so many grudges against organized religion. But please, do not judge me or my kids for having fun dressing up, trick-or-treating, and eating some pizza while we watch “Hocus Pocus” together.
“I got a rock.”- Charlie Brown