HALLOWEEN STORY IDEAS

I’ve already posted once this week about my reflections on Halloween, so I will spare you that again.  Just know that at some point tonight I will watch Linus give the Great Pumpkin sermon.

photo from wikipedia
photo from wikipedia

Instead, today I want to provide a public service.  Just like I did on the other frightening day, Friday the 13th, I am providing those of you who like a good story some free plot ideas, Halloween themed of course, to develop or to think about or tell as ghost stories around the campfire.  When I am finished with that, I must return to work on my own monster story which I hope to release in December.

Plot 1–The ghost of Buddy Holly haunts Justin Bieber until Bieber finally publicly admits he has no talent and is a sham.  Once that happens, Holly can now enter eternity at peace, having rid the world of untold pain and suffering.

Plot 2–A man is driving home from work on Halloween and he has a flat tire.  While repairing the tire, he is abducted by aliens.  Instead of conducting experiments on him, though, the aliens just want to know which house is giving out the best candy.

Plot 3–The local high school football team is playing their rival on Halloween night.  The game is close and comes down to the final kick, but the field goal kicker misses the uprights.  On the bus ride home the quarterback of the team conjures the spirit of a long dead witch who tells the boys they can go back in time and win the game if they sacrifice the kicker (the goat) on a burning pyre of dried cattle dung.

Plot 4–It is All Hallow’s Eve and Miley Cyrus accidentally comes across a Jesuit Priest (or maybe a Baptist Pastor?) who expels the demons from the entertainer and heals her soul.  Afterwards, she no longer can make money for her masters so the record company sues the priest and the Roman Catholic Church (The Southern Baptist Convention?)  Okay, I sort of swiped this plot from Acts 16:16-24 but you have to admit, it makes sense.

Plot 5–A group of idealists and zealots on the left and the right conspire to take over the government and force the nation into debt-fueled policies that choke liberty and muffle expression and privacy.  Oh, wait, sorry, this is from my list of documentary ideas.

OH NO! IT’S ALMOST HALLOWEEN AGAIN

Well, this is weird.  It is Sunday morning and I am not at church!  What is that all about, Pastor Greenbean?  Well, the hot water heater is not making hot water.  It did this yesterday, and the guy came and fixed it, but it looks like he didn’t.  So us Greenbeans smell bad this morning and it sounds very spiritual, or at least Levitical, to not go to church when you are unclean.  So, that gives me time to write tomorrow’s blog today.  Lucky you.

Because I am not actively involved in church ministry right now, I am able to look at other churches with a little bit of a learning eye and what I see is that there are two types of approaches churches make toward Halloween.  Let’s call them Type A and Type B.

The Type A church sees Halloween as a cultural phenomena that blends with the seasonal changes.  These churches often have pumpkin patch trips with children and families and will usually have something like a fall carnival, often called Fall Festival.  These churches may or may not have their activities planned actually on Halloween.

The Type B church hates Halloween and views it as a frightening spiritual counter-attack to the gospel.  These churches either avoid Halloween altogether, or, if they do engage in Halloween activities, it is always billed as an ‘alternative’ to Halloween.  These are the churches that go to “Hell Houses,” which are weird evangelistic haunted houses that try to frighten people into loving Jesus, because fear always works.

Guess which one I am?  Am I a Type A or Type B?

Here is the answer–I am a little bit of both.  My inner Mr. Rogers really thinks churches do better with pumpkin patches and cake walks than botched abortions and drunk driving tableaus.  However, I am also a little frightened by Halloween.  Something about it does not sit well with me and I’ve never really understood why.  Halloween usually finds me on edge and waiting for sunrise on November 1 when I can celebrate All Saints Day.  Some of my more reformed friends always encourage me that it is not Halloween but instead Reformation Day and I should see it that way.  The problem is that no one dresses up as Martin Luther on October 31.  They dress up as the devil.

What I’ve come to embrace over the years, mainly with recovery help from my wonderful family, is that I fear Halloween for irrational reasons, but fear is not the substance of faith.  Would Jesus be afraid of Halloween?  I think not.  Instead, he would transform it by his celebratory presence.  So that is why in practice I am really more of a fall festival-kind-of-guy than a hand-out-gospel-tracts-instead-candy kind of guy.  But if you do hand out gospel tracts, for the love of all that is good and decent at least give it along with full size candy bars.

SOME OTHER HALLOWEEN POSTS

Hot Cocoa Makes Halloween Sweeter

Halloween and Easter

Autumn–A Wonderful Time of Year

Happy Halloween:  Arrgghhhh

MY HALLOWEEN THEMED SHORT STORY

JOLLY ROGERS

HOT COCOA MAKES HALLOWEEN SWEETER

Re-posting old Halloween themed blogs brought me to this one–one of my earliest wordpress blogs ever (previously I blogged on Myspace–remember that?) from two years ago.  It was written the day after Halloween and was about my hot chocolate table.  I did that last year too and am hoping to do so tonight again, but it is raining very, very hard today.  We might have to wait till next year for that.  One more re-posting tomorrow, but until then, Happy Halloween (Happy Reformation Day!)

 

Last night the Greenbeans had a great Halloween. Mrs. Greenbean took the sprouts out trick or treating and thankfully they found more treats than tricks. I’m a much bigger fan of Almond Joy than I am of torched bags of poop on my porch. While they begged, I handed out primo candy at my house. I also ran an extension cord and set up a hot chocolate table in the front yard. It was just a decision to do something different, trying to be a good neighbor.

Not everyone wanted the cocoa. About a third of the parents got a cup of hot chocolate and a bout half of the little monsters. One little boy was extremely excited to have a cup of the hot stuff but then discovered he couldn’t drink it through his skeleton mask. It was quite the existential struggle watching him agonize over the cup of cocoa or the costume. Eventually he took the mask off and drank up, deciding flavor was more important than frightful.

The most curious hot cocoa statement was made about halfway through the evening. A mother with three children came up and I handed out candy and asked if anyone wanted some hot cocoa. All three of the children said, in very happy and enthusiastic tones, “YES!” But mother, standing about five feet behind firmly said, “NO!” I was fine with that, thinking the children perhaps had already had too much sugar. That is a situation with which I am very sympathetic.

But then she revealed her reason. “We cannot walk and drink at the same time; and they will spill the hot chocolate and ruin their costumes.”

I said fine, smiled, and they went on to the next house down the street. But I sat there on my metal folding chair and pondered that statement. Perhaps I am missing something here, but isn’t the whole point of Halloween to get chocolate on your costume? Isn’t Halloween the one night of the year we encourage our children to paint their faces, tangle the hair, put on ugly masks, beg for candy and then cram as many Mars Bars down their gullet as possible? What kind of child can have a good time on Halloween and not get a little dirty?

I understand all about the costume, but, the kids are only young once and I bet it is it machine washed; and after they walked around the neighborhood all evening you’re probably going to want to wash it anyway. Did you have plans for keeping it for next year and using it again? Is this a generational, heirloom costume passed down since the Civil War? Besides, it is dark. No one can see the stains anyway. Does your child’s Cinderella costume look that much like Cinderella that a hot cocoa stain is going to blow the whole illusion? Really?

I suppose what struck me was, that sometimes, we all—kids and adults—need to unwind and just get a little dirty. Enjoy the moment. The only way to truly eat watermelon is to be sticky when you are finished. The only way to play basketball is to get sweaty. The only way to enjoy painting is to get covered in it. The only way to enjoy most of life is to be sloppy nasty dirty. For crying out loud, have you ever been to a pumpkin patch. If not, here is a hint: Wear boots.

Life is messy. Thankfully God made us washable; so that hot chocolate stain will not last forever, yet memories of having fun on Halloween will.

 

HALLOWEEN AND EASTER

This week I am re-posting older posts around the Halloween theme.  This is actually from earlier this year at Easter, but . . . you’ll see.  Enjoy

 

I haven’t had much time to blog the past week or so, and will not have much time to blog later.   I’ve been spending most of my time finishing my novel (oh, it is awesome!) and then this week is both the week of Easter (busy busy busy) and spring break for my kids all at the same time.  So, that’s why I’m not blogging much.  However, I have missed my blogging community, and thought I needed to drop a line.  What I’m thinking about right now, is, the similarities between Easter and Halloween.  There are several, and I’m not even counting the odd kinship of chocolate eggs and candy corns or The Easter Bunny as comparative literature with Linus’ understanding of the Great Pumpkin.  However, consider the following creepy similarities.

  1.  In both holidays, the major action takes place in a graveyard (Matthew 27:60)
  2. Dead people coming back to life, not quite the undead, but close
  3. Zombies! (Matthew 27:52)
  4. Ghost like issues (Luke 24:37)
  5. Trick or Treat (Luke 24:41)
  6. Bloody, gory violence (John 20:27)
  7.  People walked from house to house (Luke 24)
  8. Bloodthirsty mobs
  9. Wouldn’t Boris Karloff make a great Pilate?
  10. Golgotha—Skull!
    BORIS KARLOFF=PILATE?

The nightmare of the cross is a true house of horrors; where the beauty of truth willingly suffered so that I, and every other human being, could experience the sunrise of joy.  Now that is all treat and no trick.