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Halloween as a holy day

Eugene Scott

Rick was born on Halloween. Therefore he is appropriately odd. And oddly enough, Rick doesnít mind sharing his birthday with a major holiday. Rather he relishes it. Every Halloween he spends the entire day fashioning the entryway of his home into a miniature haunted house. His special effects include fog, glow in the dark eyeballs, an otherworldly sound system, devices that erupt, and a candy cauldron being guarded by a life-size skeleton and ape. One of these guards always jumps and grabs at the kids as they do their tricks for treats. Kids from all over town come two and three times to be scared and to dip their hands into the candy cauldron. All the while Rick talks to them in a gravely, amplified voice, making sounds, commenting on their costumes, and thanking them for coming. He remains at his post until nearly 11p.m. Then adults and kids from all over town gather in his kitchen and sing happy birthday to Rick. But itís the hours before that really make Rick’s day. Rather than feeling like Halloween has stolen his birthday thunder, Rick sees it as another opportunity to give.I admire Rick for that. Halloween has always been my least favorite holiday. Iím not creative as far as costumes go. That may have to do with my childhood. Year after year my harried mother would dress me in ragged jeans and a flannel shirt, smear Vaseline and coffee grounds (for whiskers) on my face, and send me out as a hobo. Later I became a follower of Christ and heard Halloween was Satanís holiday and that I should ignore it at all cost. Ignoring it sounded good to me because I didnít much care for it anyway. Now I had a better excuse than that I was tired of dressing as a hobo.Having children of my own ended that charade. I discovered itís hard to convince children that Halloween is the Devilís day when so many people are dressing in fun costumes and giving out candy and laughing and having a blast. What? Doesnít God like fun? theyíd ask. Donít get me wrong. I know Halloween has a darker side. But so does almost any human endeavor. I like what Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn sings, ìYouíve got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.î I believe, in a gentler way, thatís what Rick does. He takes something God gave him, his birthday, and on a holiday some consider evil he releases as much daylight as is in him.For followers of Christ this is one of the main messages of Jesusí death on the cross. God took an evil instrument of torture and death and transformed it into a beautiful symbol of grace and life. God kicked the darkness and it has been bleeding daylight ever since.Halloween is still my least favorite holiday (Is hunting season a holiday?). But I marvel at the way God, through one person like Rick, can take a holiday some call evil and most others call simple, frivolous fun and turn it into a holy day. If God can do that with a cross, if God can do that with Halloween, imagine what God can do with our everyday lives, even the ones that seem shrouded in darkness.Eugene C. Scott is pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church. Their services meet on Sundays at 8a.m. in the Beaver Creek Chapel and 11a.m. in the Vail Interfaith Chapel. Join the celebration of Halloween sponsored by several local churches called Fall Fun Night Oct. 31 @ Nottingham Park. You can reach Eugene at Eugene@connectcpc.com or 477-0383.Vail, Colorado


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