What's Behind the Mask?
by Niki Turner
We didn't "do" Halloween for years. It wasn't really considered an acceptable practice in our non-denominational denomination. We either ignored the holiday altogether (we lived too far out of town to have any trick-or-treaters anyway) or we substituted "harvest parties" instead, so our kids didn't feel like they were missing out on all the fun.
|Harvest party costumes for my daughter and oldest son a LONG time ago.|
I've since learned that almost all of the holidays we celebrate are based in paganism and glorify something besides Christ. Christmas was originally a festival for the Roman god Saturnalia. Easter was a spring fertility feast celebrated by the Greeks and Romans ... hence the bunnies and eggs. Halloween, it seems, is one of the only pagan holidays the early church didn't find a way to infiltrate and "paper over" with Christian meaning and symbolism. I wish they had adopted Halloween, too, because I missed it.
It wasn't the fake skeletons and plastic vampire teeth or the crazy decorations I missed. I didn't even miss the candy – I missed that one night a year to put on a costume and step into character. One day in which it was perfectly acceptable to become someone, or something, other than myself. A day to express those bits and pieces of my personality that I kept locked away from public view for fear of rejection or humiliation.
|My "Jonah in the whale" Bible-theme costume.|
Think about it, only on Halloween are we praised, applauded – even awarded prizes – for being the most extreme, outlandish, or ridiculous person at the party. (Unless you're Johnny Depp, and have made a wildly successful career out of being extreme, outlandish, and ridiculous.)
This year, whether you "do" Halloween or not, I challenge you to take a second and consider the underlying reason the people you see chose that particular costume.
- Does the zombie (a costume choice I have never understood) feel dead on the inside?
- Does the little Harry Potter or Hermione hunger for the supernatural power of God?
- Does the werewolf feel helpless to control his anger and rage?
- Is the pint-size princess (or the grown woman in the "sexy" get-up) desperate to be told she's beautiful and loved?
- Do the Green Lanterns and Captain Americas long to "go about doing good," perhaps?
- And when the 47th version of a vampire appears at your door, remember, everyone wants to immortal.
Just a thought.
Mother of four and grandmother of one, Niki Turner is an only child, wife of a former pastor, and writer of fiction, blog posts, Facebook status updates, a tweet here and there, and lots of long grocery lists. She also writes, copyedits, and proofreads for the local newspaper. Her first completed manuscript was a finalist in the Touched by Love contest.