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Reflections on Halloween

There has been a trend in recent years for some people to decorate their houses for Halloween as elaborately as other people do for Christmas. I don’t get it. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. Even for those who don’t believe strongly in Jesus, the season represents the spirit of love and giving, children and family, life and light. The Halloween decorations celebrate death, fear, suffering, and darkness. Why would people go to great expense and effort to celebrate that? Could it be that the celebration is a deliberate response and affront to Christmas, pointing out that non-Christians can have their own holiday to celebrate?

This Halloween, I went out trick or treating with the grandchildren. We went to our neighbours, most of whom know us. It was a community event.

There was one house that was particularly elaborately decorated and particularly scary, lit only by feeble orange lights. The older grandchildren were afraid to approach it, but the two-year-old matter-of-factly walked up the steps, holding my hand, and rang the doorbell. No one answered.

This was something else that I noticed. Many of the elaborately decorated Halloween houses were only that. No one answered the door, and no one gave out any candy. They seemed to promise something that they didn’t deliver. They celebrated darkness and showed no kindness to children. It was often the houses with no decorations except maybe a single pumpkin and a porch light that gave away the most candy—the homes of the people who preferred celebrating giving and children and light rather than death and darkness.

There was a final occurrence worthy of note. The day after Halloween, my wife and I were driving our car across town when the backseat window on the driver’s side suddenly rolled down. I hit the control button on the driver’s door, and the window rolled up again. But a few seconds later it rolled down again, and this time I could not get it to go back up. We began to wonder if there was a Halloween ghost or some dark and dangerous beast in the back seat playing with the window control. My wife phoned our mechanic, who said that it could be an electrical malfunction. I pulled over and stopped, then opened the back door. It was then that I discovered that a bag of dog food had fallen over and hit the rear window control. Our dog may be annoying, but he cannot fairly be described as a dark and dangerous beast.


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