Yesterday, I found a doll that I received at Christmas when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. It was a “walking doll,” stuck back in a closet, I barely use. These specialty dolls would walk if you held their hand and moved them in exactly the right way.
Walking dolls were the rage that year and every little girl got one. Even though I was getting too old for dolls, I love it and I’ve kept it in the top of a closet for about 55 years. She is a mess and certainly won’t ever be a sell-able item in years to come.
A good friend collected marbles all during his childhood. Today, they are valuable collectibles. However, his parents decided that these toys belonged to them–not him. In fact, without consulting him, they gave the marble treasure to his sister.
All of us have special memories from our childhood. Some are gifts and toys. Most of them revolve about special days and events. For me Halloween was one of those. I grew up in the days that parents didn’t buy costumes. All the children in the neighborhood got together and we made our own dress-up attire. The guys wore their baseball uniforms or wore an eye batch and their older sister’s white blouse with their dad’s over-sized pants and became pirates. The less creative girls, like me, were usually gypsies.
The candy was the super star of the day. We cared little about what the day meant. Yet, we loved getting that candy from neighbors. By the time my children were at the trick-or-treat stage, creepy crawlers had moved onto the scenes because parents had started to manage the day and the event. One home in our neighborhood was decorated. Sears always had costume pajamas that I purchased for the children. My daughter was always an angel.
In reality, Halloween is transliteration of the two words All Hallowed Eve or Holy Eve. October 31 is the day before one of the most holy days of the Christian calendar, All Saints Day. On November 1, the church in the sixth century took the day to remember saints who have lived and died to insure the spread of the good news of Christ’s death and God’s redeeming love.
I am often asked what I think about Halloween. In short, I don’t celebrate the day. However, I hate that playing with evil and a glorification of Satan has overtaken a holy time of remembrance. Goulds and skeletons which celebrate death and slaughter are freely greeted. Yet, the holy Babe who was laid in a manger and Holy Week are being outlawed. After all, remembering God’s sacrificial love is much more dangerous to society than blatant evil.
Could it be that the Church has given away another holy time? How many of us celebrate November 1, All Saints Day? Wouldn’t a renewal of this holiday by the Church at least off set for Christians a holiday gone bad?