Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween on Franklin Street

Trick or treating on Franklin Street was always without incident.  In those days the residents of just about every house knew the neighborhood kids would be coming by, so we did.  The best I can remember we had permission to knock on all the doors in our block and in the next block, but since mom and dad didn't know many people on Franklin Street beyond those two blocks, we didn't go.

As a kid, I never challenged the parental decision for our fun-trek on Franklin Street to only include those two blocks of houses.  I do know they were safer days for the Halloween activities back then. We didn't worry about being kidnapped or any other malicious crimes being committed.  The main "sermon" we got before Trick-or-Treating was to watch out for cars and don't get run over. 

I have spent some time looking at the Halloween tradition this week.  To make my mind more muddy than usual, I visited websites describing the events and origin of Halloween. To my surprise, the actual origin is a cause for major disagreement.  While some argue it was started by the pagans as a celebration things associated with death, there are others who actually claim its origin was Christian in nature.  I am not going to argue nor debate either side, mainly because I found another website which actually made some sense to me. 

I know there is some fear in the parents of younger children, that the violence and gore associated with Halloween and its decorations, goes too far beyond the cute little Casper the Friendly Ghost costumes.  I, myself, do not like those decorations and costumes which are so graphic concerning mutilated bodies and such.  The website I found which made some sense to me causes me to be aware of those gruesome visuals and avoid them for the sake of the little children. 

That being said, the costume of Superman or Snow White on a four-year old is cute.  It's an exciting time for the kids to go knocking on the neighbors' doors and get a treat of some kind while showing off their costumes.  That is one night in the year we leave the porch lights on and welcome the kids to knock on our door so we can give them some candy or other treat.  The other 364 nights during the year, we leave our porch lights off, and do not want a bunch of kids on our porches, because we are inside our domain and do not wish to be interrupted. 

That's what I got from the other website.  Halloween could be a fun time for neighbors to enjoy meeting and visiting with each other, getting to know the people who live close by, and even establishing a friendly relationship by learning their names, their kid's names, and even their pet's name.  The writer of that website has uncovered an interesting concept that is almost identical to the way we are to be toward each other in the church.

I suppose I can summarize the Halloween controversy by saying if you are comfortable with the things associated with death and evil spirits, Halloween is your day.  As a better suggestion, and since this is another of the holidays that is really "for the kids," let's make an exerted effort to see that the kids have a fun experience, a happy memory of home, and relate it with the night the whole neighborhood was having a good time together. 


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