Halloween is my favorite holiday. This probably comes from how much I enjoyed it as a child. My mother was a candy hound and liked going out to get treats almost more than I did. My mother was very conservative but never saw Halloween as anything more than good clean fun. I’m sure my grandparents didn’t approve but they lived too far away for it to be a problem. Mom could be counted on to take me out even if it was very cold and near blizzard conditions. This was back in the ’70s when everything was made out of plastic and the masks would stick to your face once you started to sweat. We often didn’t have money to buy me a costume and we would be out shopping at the last minute trying to find something in the right size. I was a good-natured kid and could be happy with almost anything. My favorite costume memory is from the year I was “Police Woman”. This costume was modeled after a popular 70’s show featuring Angie Dickenson. After we were done my mom and I would go through all my candy. I would give her whatever I didn’t like and we would enjoy a few pieces. If I was lucky “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” would be on TV and everything would be right in the world.
We had these wonderful decorations for the windows. They are coming back into style now. I was at World Cost Market the other day and saw they had replicas of the ones my mother used. We had witches, black cats, bats, and all the usual fare. It was innocent and a bright spot in a sad childhood.
When I was a kid I was never a fan of the really scary movies and didn’t come to embrace them until I was an older teenager. The church was always talking about the ways in which the devil could trick you and lead you straight to hell. This was more than enough scary for me! There was a time when the church would hold parties around Halloween. These parties involved going to church in some sort of Bible character costume and I avoided these gatherings like the plague. If I wasn’t going out to get candy (because I was too old) then I wanted to dress up and give it out to the little people coming to the door. It was one of the only times I felt like we were normal. We were participating in a community event and a part of things instead of being on the outside looking in.
When I think about it I rarely ever heard people talking about the devil, Satan, demons and the like outside of the church. The church acted like the devil was some kind of boogie man who would jump out at you from the movie screen or record you were listening to. He could be found roaming your thoughts and wanted nothing more than to pollute your soul and make you one of his. They believed that if you listened to music about the devil like the Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil”, you would instantly be inhabited by a demon. They warned us about how reading the wrong books would open a doorway to hell. Really they seemed very fixated on Satan and demons, much more so than the rest of the world I encountered.
There is a point to all this I promise, let me use this as an example. The church focused on sexuality and talked to children about it too much and the adults seemed to always be thinking about sex. To be honest they seemed to have their minds in the gutter, always expecting the worst. Within the congregation of CGC so much inappropriate sexual activity went on and some of it was criminal. I have to wonder if these things would have happened if the church did not have the attitudes about sex that it has. Where every little thing is sexualized and made unclean and evil. I wonder if they made Halloween, metal music, scary books and movies more enticing and interesting to certain young people because they railed against it and at the same time talked about the devil like he was a real entity that might try to get you. I feel they introduced some of the demonic stuff they were telling us was so wrong and so real just by talking about it so much. Was it the world that had been turned over to Satan because the world did not seem as impressed by him as my church was?! CGC really brought all the scary things into my life during my childhood. I think if I had been raised like a normal kid I might have encountered those things as I grew up and it was an appropriate time to be exposed. My children were only able to watch scary shows and movies as they were mature enough to handle the material. I was the mean mom that said no to certain things I didn’t feel my kids were ready for. They never knew the terror of being raised with a devil around every corner, you have to attend church to get that kind of horror.