What’s the best way to get your jack-o’-lantern kicked down the street on Halloween? Tell a group of kids that instead of handing out candy you’re giving out Bibles because you oppose pagan rituals and have decided instead to celebrate JesusWeen. Just hand out those little black books and watch that happy faced squash of yours go flying down the road.
For those of you who do not know, JesusWeen was invented to offer an alternative to those people who find the notion of trick-or-treating to be against their moral code. According to the official JesusWeen website, followers see Oct. 31 as a day to expect a gift of salvation and rethink receiving Jesus. Of course, I would agree if the gift of salvation is an Abba-Zaba.
Evidently, this happy little group believes God inspired them to encourage Christians to use this day as an opportunity to spread the Gospel. Really? God told you to use Halloween as the optimum day to hand out Bibles? What about more appropriate commercialized events in which to spread the word — like Christmas and Easter? Those are days when people are already more in the mood for the Holy Trinity and less hungry for Good ‘N Plenty.
It’s an uphill climb expecting kids to jump on the salvation bandwagon when all they want is a pillowcase full of sugary goodness. But don’t take my word for it, look at Facebook. About 4,300 people like JesusWeen while more than 665,000 people like the Swedish Fish candy page. I think that says a mouthful.
And about this philosophy you have that, “Evil prevails when good people do nothing.” I thought when good people did nothing, then nothing happened? When did not participating become the root of all evil?
Seriously, though, I’m fine with people not wanting to partake in Halloween. And it’s your absolute right to raise your kids with whatever myopic belief system you want. But if you don’t want to celebrate with the rest of us, simply turn out your lights. Our little pagan offspring will walk right past your house. Sure, you’ll get the occasional vampire who will knock on every door. But for the most part, you can expect our ghoulish little holiday of the dead to pass you right by.
Aren’t religious holidays filled with all kinds of gruesome references? One could easily interpret Easter as being about a violent beating and death facilitated by the prejudiced persecution of Jesus. Three days after his death Jesus became the most well-known undead person in history, walking the Earth encouraging people to eat his body and drink his blood.
One definition of Passover has God helping his people escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting 10 plagues upon the Egyptians. The 10th plague was the slaughter of the first-born. Yikes. Legend has it, people could avoid this particular plague by marking their homes with the blood of a spring lamb.
I’m not judging, but to an outsider, a sacred day remembering plagues and the painting of an animal’s blood on your door seems very dark in comparison to dressing up as, say, Tinker Bell.
The point is, most of us have something we believe which others will find offensive. But calling another’s rituals evil doesn’t accomplish anything positive. Wouldn’t it be more God-like to simply say, “You have your belief, I have mine. Neither of us are trying to hurt one another so let’s coexist.”
Or in simpler terms as my mom always said, “To each his own.”
Personally, I don’t see Halloween being forced upon anyone. Yes. It’s a national obsession. But how you interpret the meaning of the festivity is up to the individual. I’ve never defined it as some kind of satanic ritual. To my kids, it’s merely a fun day to dress up in something wacky, carve pumpkins, and walk around the neighborhood collecting sweets. My interpretation is much more of a community event than an axis of evil.
Of course if you want to see it as something sinister, why not distribute iconography that would feel more appropriate to what the rest of us are doing? Next year, instead of handing out Bibles for JesusWeen, give each child a little crucifix? You gotta admit, giving a kid a statue of a guy nailed to a cross would be simultaneously scary and advance whatever floats your boat.
GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.