Thursday, October 29, 2009

Childhood Halloween Memories

When I was growing up I remember Halloween as pretty innocent fun. I remember when I was in first grade the first time we had to let mom and dad go through our candy before we dove into eating it. That was the year some crazy guy was putting razor blades in the apples. And yes that was when you still got APPLES for a treat. We also went from house to house in our neighborhood without mom and dad and there weren't really any worries about someone trying to do something to hurt you.

Well I think my favorite Halloween memory was from when I was in elementary school. My parents were youth sponsors at our church and our church always hosted a haunted house. Yes, you read that right not a fun fest or trunk or treat but a HAUNTED HOUSE. Like I said things have changed a TON in the last 20+ years.

Now this wasn't just any old house that we had this in, this was a vacant home on one our church members' farms. And I was told by one of my very favorite people in our youth group that someone had actually been murdered there. So of course I believed him. Smile. (Hey I was 10 years old.) And this house was at least a 1/4 mile back from the main street, so you had to walk a pretty long path from the parking area to the house. Perfect time to get you totally freaked out before you ever stepped foot in the house. You were led to the house by "tour guides" who were dressed up in complete witches costumes which my mom made.

Now this house had someone dressed up as Dracula in a real coffin (my favorite person was Dracula and even got the coffin,sigh) a decapitated head on a chopping block, brains in a bowl, and of course spooky sounds and the crawl through tunnel to get out and much much more. The tunnel had the fake floor with people laying down under it and they would grab at your legs as you crawled out. My brother was one of the ones in the tunnel, after the 2nd night he got hurt by someone that freaked out.
It still amazes me that we did this as a youth fund raiser for our church! I mean really??!!

The night we kicked this off was "perfect". It was super chilly and windy outside. The tour guides had lanterns to lead people down the path, and even though I knew everyone that was playing parts in the house I was scared out of my mind...after going through all the rooms I didn't make it through the tunnel, I turned around and ran back out the front door.

As a matter of fact I worked myself up into such scaredy cat state that when we got home I went into our dark den to turn on some lights. And as I was walking across the room to turn on the first light I happened to look out the front window and saw some shadowy figure walk in front of the window. And of course I immediately assumed it was either a ghost or some bad person coming to "get us". So I RAN to get my dad and we walked into the den together, all the while I am pointing at this "shadowy figure" and WHISPERING rather loudly to my dad. Now my super hero dad who is showing absolutely NO fear grabs me by the hand and walks me to the window, and as I am bracing myself to SCREAM as I face this shadowy bad person, my dad clears his throat points to the movement in front of the window and asks me: "Is that what you saw"? I nod my head yes, then he pulls back the sheers. Okay at that moment I experienced several emotions all at once: total let down, embarrassment, and relief.

OH! so you want to know what it was?.....The scary shadowy figure was none other than a pine tree blowing in front of the lit lamp post at the end our drive way. Which you could see in perfect shadowed form from our den window. Now so help me it look just like someone walking in front of the window.....REALLY!

So what point do all these Halloween memories have? Here are few interesting facts, in the very town where I experienced all this innocent fun as a child now stands one of the largest satanic churches on the east coast; about an hour and half south east of this same town is the eastern headquarters for WICCA. You know the "white" witches association. And I could list a host of other things but I think I have made this point: The Halloween of my childhood is NOT the Halloween of today.

Ghost stories which my brother and I loved to read about as kids were just that, stories. Today Ghost hunters are all over the TV showing us that we "aren't' alone" in many places on this earth trying to convince us that we share spaces with the invisible. The irony of this though is that while our children are allowed to dress up and celebrate the most gruesome creatures at school for Halloween and even discuss witches and vampires, they aren't allowed to have a Nativity play that celebrates the birth of Christ, or discuss Jesus in class or the Bible. Does this mean that I think the celebration of Halloween caused this? No I just think we as believers in Christ have allowed our rights as believers to be taken away. We have allowed others to silence us because of "convincing" arguments.

This seems pretty twisted up to me. What about you? Do you think its right? What about Halloween how is it different to you today?

No comments: