The Devil’s Night

faceless_death_scythe_rain_sky_night_moon_80054_2048x2048Apparently the Devil has one night out of the entire year when he can run rampant across the earth, and it just so happens to be the same night little kids are out in droves begging people for candy they didn’t earn, and the same night where teens are blasting each other with shaving cream they didn’t buy. If Santa is indeed keeping a naughty list and a nice list, I’m thinking the naughty list should probably fill up with teenagers and such on this night of all nights. Perhaps the Devil and Santa should get together and make a plan.

Or perhaps they already have.

When I was a kid I think this was my opinion of Halloween. It was based on the hard science of my mother’s religion coupled with the things other children said that scared the pants off of me. Besides, I wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating so basically anything could have been happening out there as far as I was concerned. Kids would tell me stories that could shake the ticks off a dog, and I would nod along, thinking in my head that there was absolutely no way they could have possibly survived.

Then the morning after the Devil’s Night I would see the busted eggs on the ground, the toilet paper in the trees, and the exploded pumpkins, and my mind would about burst along with them. I kept my head down, headed to school, and hoped that all would be well again with the world by that afternoon. Most times it would and I would exhale for yet another year, until the dark night would rear its ugly head once again.

My mother traded on the idea that it was a pagan holiday, and our church didn’t hold with it in the least. It wasn’t even like they were trying to co-opt it, to make it okay like some churches do. There was no dressing up like John the Baptist or Noah. There was no recreation of Biblical stories or church candy parties on Halloween to keep us in and off of the streets. I honestly think the church’s plan was to ignore it altogether and hope we forgot it was even a holiday celebrated by just about everyone else in the known world.

But of course it didn’t work. It had something to do with all the candy. You see, kids love candy, and anything that has to do with candy should be ours. So we felt like Jewish kids on Christmas, like we were left out of something monumentally huge, and like no one else cared. Why should they? They were all getting their candy, eating their candy, and enjoying dressing up like Wonder Woman and Elmer Fudd. And we were sitting at home on Halloween night hoping no one came to the door because it would force us to remember what was going on all around us.

I kept hoping things would change at some point, that one day I would wake up on Halloween and a costume would be laid out on my bed in all its glory. I wouldn’t have even cared if it was Robin, or a giant potato, or even Theo Huxtable (I kind of looked like him anyway). I would have celebrated like it was 1999, but Halloweens came and went in an endless line, and I became an adult without ever realizing that dream.

Until I had kids of my own, that is. Now the Devil’s Night is all mine, at least vicariously. Which is good enough. Now if I could just fit into this Pony costume…

Sam

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