At the risk of sounding like a grinch, I freely admit I am not a big fan of halloween. No, I don’t have a phobia about costumes or children trick-or-treating (especially if they get extra chocolate for me). There is nothing more adorable than seeing little ones on my doorstep holding out a pumpkin asking for candy.
My views on halloween have changed since becoming a Christian. I am both disturbed and disappointed that our culture’s focus has shifted from candlelight vigils, prayer services, and other festivities designed to honor those who have passed before use (All Hallow’s Eve/All Soul’s Day) to zombies, witches, and vampires.
Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Sometimes a girl just has to say what she has to say.
As a child, I thought Halloween was a blast. In those days, we didn’t have elaborate costumes or plastic molded pumpkins to carry around; old sheets with eye holes transformed us into scary ghosts and bandannas and clip-on hoop earrings conjured up intimidating pirates. All we needed were pillowcases to haul our sugary booty.
It was a more innocent time. Older kids went trick-or-treating alone for hours and only returned home to empty their pillowcases and head out again. We got more than little fun size candy bars that had been on store shelves since August, we got homemade goodies like cookies, bars, popcorn balls, and even candy apples, and we weren’t afraid to eat them.
The “hippyish” families in the neighborhood passed out granola bars or trail mix. YUCK, I would think. “What red-blooded American kid wants rabbit food for halloween?” Now that would be my first choice! Being a grownup just isn’t as much fun.
Unfortunately, those innocent times went by the wayside the first time a razor blade was found in an apple or a needle was secreted into a candy bar. Parents literally went to the hospital to x-ray their children’s candy before it could be consumed. What sicko would do such a thing… Probably a bitter adult who had been bullied as a child on halloween. These days they would invent new computer viruses just to be mean.
I’ve always been something of an overachiever, so even though I was a full-time career woman, our two kids weren’t allowed to go to Target and get bagged costumes. Oh the horror! Instead, we bought books on making our own costumes. It was a pretty ridiculous idea since I don’t have a crafty cell in my body, but I worked hard to make sure their costumes were standouts.
I think my son’s favorite costume was the year he was an astronaut. He wore white pants and a white sweatshirt and we decorated them with an odd assortment of household doodads to resemble gauges and hoses. He was way cool, helmet and all. You can bet your bottom dollar nobody else had the same costume.
Over the years he was also a rather authentic pirate (without the rotting teeth and dreadlocks) and Sasquatch. The latter kind of creeped me out, truth be told, because he was so well camouflaged in his gillie he could jump out from anywhere and scare the life out of you. He thought that was fun… I definitely did NOT.
One year I got a surprising response when I asked my daughter what she wanted to be for Halloween. “I want to be a lamp!” Now that is original wouldn’t you say? To make it work, we bought her a gold shimmery leotard and matching tights, found some perfectly matched theatrical make-up, and donned her head with a black lampshade I found in the basement. She was tall and slender and definitely pulled it off.
During the famous 1991 Halloween blizzard (28″ of the white stuff was dropped on us) she dressed as a sheep – she was so full of sticky snow you couldn’t tell the difference between her and the landscape. I’ll never forget opening the door to find my three-year-old lamb standing in front of me with black make-up running down her face as she sobbed, “Trick or Treat.”
I also made her a teddy bear costume. It took me about 12 hours – and a few glasses of wine – to make that bear out of faux fur on a sewing machine. I didn’t even know how to thread the thing. It was big enough for future use, and she can still wear it today.
By this point you are probably wondering why I titled this blog, “A Halloween Miracle.” Okay, okay, don’t get your undies in a bundle, I am getting to that. One year when my daughter was in upper elementary school, she made a special request. She wanted to dress like an angel because her trick-or-treating buddy would be representing the devil in a rather elaborate get-up.
“Mom, I just want to be an angel to show Jesus to her and the other kids on this evil night.”
Now… what mother is not going to fulfill that request? I must admit I had to succumb to a store-bought costume for this one, but we did embellish it with an illuminated halo so people could see her coming for blocks.
As the Minnesota sunlight waned and the temperatures grew colder, I knew it was time to get the kids dressed and out the door. Then the crisis hit…. the beautiful angel costume was nowhere to be found. My daughter had the propensity to hide things in very peculiar places, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. I looked in every closet and drawer, underneath furniture cushions and beds, inside the covers and in the bathtub, refrigerator and dryer, and even in the car, but I found zip…nada…nothing.
Hours later I was exhausted and frustrated. All I had left to try was prayer. But come on; God has far more important things to worry about than one little girl’s costume, right? Sitting on her bedroom floor sniveling, I closed my eyes and prayed:
Lord, I know you’re busy with about a million things right now, such as war and famine, but my Sunshine wants to be an angel tonight to be a light in this dark world and point others toward you. Could you please help me find her costume?
For some reason, I instantly opened my eyes and looked down. There between my legs was her yellow lunchbox. I looked inside and there it was; the costume all wadded up. Other than smelling a bit like peanut butter and jelly, it was perfectly fine. I would have never looked inside that box without the Lord’s prompting.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
~ Philippians 4:6
I guess that even includes Halloween costumes.
Until next time,