O Me of Little Faith

Seven random thoughts about Halloween:

1. In my family, we grew up pronouncing it “HAL-oween.” The hal rhymes with “pal.” Lots of my friends and family joined us in that pronunciation. But I knew a lot of others from this area who pronounce it “HALL-oween.” The hall rhymes with “ball.” So it’s not a regional thing, but a very clear difference in pronunciation from family to family. The dictionary supports both pronunciations. I have no idea why people say it differently. How do you say it?

2. I think it’s really curious how more and more churches are offering Halloween-alternative “fall festival” types of celebrations at churches. These are events in which kids can dress up and receive candy in “a safe environment.” But churches are always very careful not to suggest that this is a Halloween event, because they don’t want to attach it in any way to what they view as a possibly evil observance. Right. Having children dress up and receive candy on October 31 clearly has no connection to Halloween whatsoever. Very stealthy, Church.

3. My church is having a Halloween-alternative event in which kids dress up and receive candy. But we are publicly identifying it as a “Halloween Carnival.” So take that. (I may have had some influence on this…)

4. One time, around 6th grade or so, I dressed as a flasher for Halloween. Wore shorts, no socks, and my dad’s beige trenchcoat. I went trick-or-treating this way, and it was windy and about 40 degrees that night. I was really cold, and gained a newfound respect for flashers. If you look past the perversion, those are some tough dudes.

5. I can’t believe my parents let me dress up and walk around the neighborhood as a flasher.

6. Back to the Fall Festivals. Lots of them come with a disclaimer: No scary costumes. Having never attended one of these events, I’ve always wondered how this was enforced. Do you put a bouncer at the door to turn away the guys in Michael Myers masks? Or the kid wearing this rotting-face child zombie costume? What if the bouncer suffers from a bunch of irrational fears, like coulrophobia? Does he then turn away the kid innocently dressed as a clown? My son, Owen, is going to be a ninja for Halloween. In some cultures — namely, 15th-century feudal Japan — this would have been quite scary. Will he be turned away at the door? Would Rev. Jerry Falwell (God rest his soul) have turned away this kid?

7. As far as holidays go, Christmas borrows as much pagan symbolism as Halloween. Trees, holly, stockings, gifts, mistletoe, even the December 25 date — all these have partially pagan origins. I’m just sayin.’


You have random thoughts about Halloween, too. What are they? Let’s discuss what we love, get annoyed by, and have noticed about the holiday.

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