How we handle Halloween

A few weeks ago, a few of those Halloween costume catalogs arrived in the mail. Ever since, there has been nonstop chatter in the background over the all-important decision, “What am I going to be for Halloween?” 

How I approach Halloween and Christianity

 I know that some Christians opt not to participate in Halloween, for various reasons. That’s fine, I respect that choice, but that’s not my personal bent. I grew up celebrating Halloween by trick-or-treating up and down my street with all the other kids in the neighborhood. Then we would get in the car so my parents could take me to trick-or-treat at their friends’ houses all around town. (My parents had me late in life, and pretty much all of their friends’ kids were grown. So, since they were past the days of dressing up their kids and taking them to all their neighbors’ houses, my parents brought me to see them, just for fun and so I could show off my costume.) 

The beginning of a great night. 

In law school, where I met hubs, the annual Halloween party was always a good one. My first year of law school, when we had recently started dating, we decided to choose our costumes on our own and not tell each other what they were. Imagine this scene: He comes to pick me up for the party and knocks at the door. What do I find? Elvis. In the full, bedazzled white leisure suit and sunglasses regalia. (So that’s why he’s been growing his sideburns out.) What about me? Dorothy. From “The Wizard of Oz.” Right down to the red, patent leather heels. And do notice the bobby socks.

The next year, we decided to collaborate, and that it would be fun to go in costumes that completely concealed our real identity. We rented costumes, and I went as Bugs Bunny, and he as Sylvester. (Note: Eating and drinking are extremely difficult in a Bugs Bunny head.) That afternoon, I went to see my grandmother, who happened to be in the hospital but was on the mend, in costume to give her a laugh. I ended up on the pediatric floor where a nurse stuck a basket of candy in my hand, and made the rounds, visiting all the kids there. (Another note: these kinds of costumes do completely conceal tears.)

What do we do now? Well, we are a two-church family. Both have Halloween traditions. The Southern Baptist church where my husband is a deacon holds an annual “Trunk or Treat”, sort of like a fall festival, on the Wednesday night closest to Halloween. The Episcopal Church where I serve on the altar guild of course celebrates the Vigil of All Saints/All Hallows’ Eve and sometimes everyone goes trick-or-treating around the church’s neighborhood together. The downtown residential area and some other neighborhoods approach Halloween with sort of a concerted effort, so when you trick-or-treat there, you see pretty much the whole town. So we have lots of options for Halloween, but all of them just good, family-friendly fun, which is my idea of what it should be. 

With that out of the way, back to the catalogs. 

I realized this past weekend how close Halloween is and that we better be figuring out the costume thing and getting them ordered or made or whatever we are going to do. One night, at bedtime, while I was waiting on my husband to join us in BB’s room for our nightly ritual (a Bible story, one other story, possibly listen to BB get through his library book for the week, then off to bed for prayers) I sat down with the kids and one of the catalogs to see what they had in mind. 

Oh. My. Goodness. 

First of all, the catalog at this point was ragged and dog-eared, with potential selections marked throughout with marker. 

Here are some of the contenders: 

When I saw this one, I thought, “Ok, this has potential for the whole family.” I could totally get into the whole “Pirates of the Caribbean” thing myself. And I might even be able to get my husband to go along with this one. But for some reason, although both the kids considered this one a possible contender, it apparently wasn’t the favorite of either. Oh, well. 
We moved on. 

This one was Sissy’s first pick. She’s 9 years old, almost 10. She’s moving into that stage where she doesn’t want to be a Disney princess anymore, but she’s really not ready for some of the “tween” looks. She and I both enjoy participating in theatre productions from time to time, and I thought that’s kind of where she was going with this. I tried to convince BB, age 6, to be Zorro, but to no avail. And she wasn’t set on it. 

Hmm. We had a mermaid costume a few years ago when she was in a production of “The Little Mermaid.” Clearly, this is not Ariel. It’s just weird. Or so I thought. 
The next few pages were just strange. Case in point…
Methinks this would not play well at the church trunk-or-treat. Next.
Then we got to the one she really wanted…


This one was called “Scary Fairy.” That’s aptly named. 

We kept flipping. 

I knew that this was not a realistic prospect. But my penchant for period costumes (and vampire stories – be honest, y’all, they make really good fiction) drew me to this one. And BB kinda liked it, too, which I thought was funny. 
At this point, hubs had joined us and it was time to read. The following was then heard: “Son, put down the vampires so we can READ THE BIBLE.” 

After storytime, BB wanted to show me his picks. 

His first pick was for the dog. 

To be honest, there’s nothing about this that isn’t awesome. The dog is after all the shortest member of the family, who, as a Pekingese, has the perfect smushed up face to be Yoda. However, our dog just turned 15. He’s doing good for 15, but he retired from these kind of antics quite a while ago. 
His final pick WAS a dog. 

He desperately wants to be a puppy for some reason. THIS puppy. Unfortunately, THIS puppy costume doesn’t come in his size. We had to go searching the virtual shopping world for something similar, which we found, thankfully. (I’m still not sure what the puppy thing is about. He went right past all of the superheroes, Star Wars characters, and all, and settled on this.) 
Problem was, he wanted me to be a puppy, too. I don’t want to be a puppy. Sissy didn’t want to be a puppy, either, and she had grudgingly admitted that her favorite “Scary Fairy” was out, because the church bulletin said “No scary costumes.” 

Then I saw this. 
I was hooked. Apparently one of my children had liked it, too. (See the big, red circle and the word “Yes” written all over the page.) Cute and hilarious all at once. Sissy was on board. (I didn’t even ask hubs. I know the answer already. Rosanne Barr has a better change of getting asked to sing the National Anthem again than I do of getting that man in a sock monkey costume.) 
So, it looks like the puppy will have some sock monkey chew toys. Or the sock monkeys will have a puppy for a pet. 

Whatever. It’s Halloween. Do yo’ thang. 

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