I have just recently taken quite a tongue lashing from a caller who verbally beat me about the head and shoulders because our newspaper publicized Halloween events. I was told to be ashamed of myself because this night was all about devil worship.

Well, I listened to the extreme admonishments at length with only "I'm sorry you feel that way" as an immediate response. And then I said adieu to the caller. Of course I explained that adieu was French for goodbye y'all. Or it may have dual meaning in Southernese as, "the grass sure is wet this morning."

But now that I have had time to think about it, I want to offer a more soul-searched response.

"Hogwash!"

In our public forum, several callers have expounded on this issue. One caller said Halloween actually stemmed from Christian roots. Another said that was wrong, that it had to do with pagan Keltic ceremonies. Another said it doesn't matter where it started, that it's not a worship of anything unless one intentionally embraces it from the heart.

Well let me say in addition to "hogwash!," I don't care where it came from -- be it Keltic, Christian or just a nightmare of Ichabod Crane. What I saw on Oct. 31 was a bunch of beautiful kids having fun, giggling and letting their imaginations run wild and probably eating too much candy.

Further, I would like to add that in my perception of such events, when one suspects a demon under every stone, then one should be careful about casting those stones because just look at all the little demons -- by your own perception -- you are going to uncover.

When I was a kid, we didn't trick-or-treat very much because we lived in the country and the houses were just too far apart. We did have Halloween carnivals though. And yes, we did pull some pranks.

I guess trick-or-treating was one of the few things I missed for not living in town. But then I wouldn't have traded that small lapse for skinny dipping, running trot lines, coon hunting, riding over pine saplings, swinging on Tarzan vines and hayrides.

Of course there are always going to be a few folks around who are so religious they won't even eat deviled eggs. As well, they wear their shorts too tight. Anything enjoyable, in their view, must be a sin. I often wondered if this was really about religion or if they would be more tolerable if they just bought bigger shorts.

I grew up a Baptist and never had any trouble distinguishing between my faith and playing games. We never perceived of Halloween as Satan worship any more than we believed that snitching a couple of watermelons would Fed-X us straight to hell. And we didn't get warts from playing with frogs either.

Of course there are those who would contend that you can get Satanized through osmosis. Put on a scary mask and the horns will graft right to your skull.

Now I'm not saying that there aren't people out there who use Halloween as a backdrop for their evil ways. But if you look at the daily crime log, you might notice that Oct. 31 is not franchised to those endeavors. You can find some evil going around on any day of the week. Seemingly, full moons are the worst. And I don't think that has anything to do ancient rituals or such. I think it's because on a full moon, one can use a pair of bolt cutters without turning on a flashlight.

Again let me emphasize my unofficial position on the alleged evil connotations of Halloween.

"Hogwash!"



Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com.



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