Ignore the fact that Christmas displays are popping up all over the place. Keep your eyes on the prize, my dear readers.
Candy. Free candy.
Halloween is not my favorite holiday, not because of its pagan roots and dark images but because it wreaks havoc with the kids’ schedules when it falls on a weeknight conflicting with homework, extracurriculars and dinner. And because it brings out a kind of crazy and lack of wisdom in adults, that does tend to trickle down.
The candy is free so long as you make an attempt at dressing up, but that is where the crazy comes out to play. God help the kid who shows up at my door dressed up in a sombrero, or as a “pimp” or “thug”, or a geisha, or in an “Indian” headdress. It is not respectful (why do you get to choose what is respectful to my culture without asking me?). I’m not accusing the parents or the child of racism or of being a racist. I won’t actually refuse to give you candy. I won’t yell at you or the kid. I am simply asking people to reconsider their choice of Halloween costumes, whether it’s for themselves or for a loved one.
The taking a piece or part of a minority group’s culture by the majority culture is known as cultural appropriation. Some examples would be Chief Illiniwek – the University of Illinois’ former mascot and dress-up/theme parties. There are plenty more out there. Chinese character tattoos on the arms of people who think it “looks cool”. Just Google “Deadly Viper controversy”. There are plenty of folks who don’t think it’s that big of a deal. That’s fine. I think it’s a big deal.
And while we are at it, dear female readers. Please encourage our sisters, young at older, to avoid Halloween costumes that focus on our sexuality. No holiday is an excuse for grown women to wear bloomers with thigh highs or for young girls and young women to mistake dressing sassy=sexy. If you have to ask if something crosses the line, it probably already did. And male readers, keep your shirts on and pants pulled up. You know what I’m talking about.
It’s a big deal because we are all made it God’s image, and God sees inherent value in both our sameness and our uniqueness. God knows each one of us (Psalm 139). And even in John’s revelation he writes of seeing unity and diversity (Rev. 7). So it’s a big deal when we create a caricature of another culture for our benefit, entertainment, amusement and abuse.
So please, don’t come to my door dressed up to honor my Asian, Latino, Black, First Nations friends. I’d rather you put on a Cubs hat and come as an insufferable optimist.
One Halloween image sticks in my mind. Cute 8 or 9 years dressed as demons – tridents, horns, red, etc – having finished their tour of designated homes in the village, turning up at the local Baptist church hall for the rival Festival of Light.
And given the friendliness, hospitality and outreach of the local Baptists, being unconditionally welcomed. A good time was had by all. But I can imagine some of the hosts must have been severely bitting their tongues. It certainly made me wince a little.
That made me laugh. There is something ironic and perhaps perfectly juxtaposed in that image of innocent, cute children donning horns and carrying trident in the name of free candy at a local Baptist hall. No? 🙂
Yes i think you’re right. There is.