Tuesday, October 18, 2005

No thrill in being a weenie

Tim Challies takes on -- and defends in some sense -- the practice of children participating in Halloween's trick-or-treating.

It's a bold move in the face of such strong opposition from conservative Christian camps. By the modern Christian definition, if your little girl dresses up as a ballerina and begs for candy with the rest of the kids on her block, you might as well buy her a first-class ticket to hell.

If your little boy dresses up as a ballerina, I suspect that falls under a weightier concern, but let's not get off topic.

I have never personally gone trick-or-treating. This had little to do with my father's objection to it, and more to do with the fact in my household's worldview, demons and dark things were a very tangible reality. I recall being very aware at a very early age of the Biblical understanding of the things not of this world.

It was especially difficult in explaining to my friends why I could not go to the latest horror film with them. Movies like Amityville Horror and Poltergeist weren't tantalizing to me because they represented a reality (however skewed by Hollywood to titillate and thrill) that could never be conceived by my friends.

This led my friends to consider me a "weenie," meaning I was irrationally fearful of things that were not real.

I have learned to revel in my weenieness because it has kept me out of a lot of trouble. This also translates to a general objection to Halloween. People joke about things that I recognize as being very real. They make light of things I find offensive.

If I put up a Nazi flag in my front yard and played loud-speaker recordings people screaming in anguish for Halloween, I would be facing harsh judgment on many fronts. Why? Because people have an understanding of the real evil of fascism and bigotry -- as well as the genocide committed in the name of that flag. Play that same scene with cobwebs and faces of demons with glowing eyes, and I'm just "in the spirit" of the event.

I don't really know how I would treat this day if I had children. It's not enough for kids to get a load of candy, which is easy enough to provide without all the fanfare. They would want to participate in the creativity of dressing up, and the thrill of not knowing what you're going to get as you go door to door.

I suppose, though, I will raise my kids in their family heritage of weenieness. Better them to have a fear of the things not of this world than the fear of peer alienation.

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