Day of the Demons

Well that is the sort of way we used to refer to Halloween during my Pentecostal Christian days. (Although growing up and gorging on candy, I felt like hurling demons.)

In Memphis lots of the conservative family churches held “Harvest Parties” on Halloween for fear of giving the devil a foothold if the kids got too ghoulish. And I am sure some of you have heard of the Hell House craze blazing across the US scaring the snot out of kids in hopes of bringing them to Christ.

But my FAVORITE Halloween story comes from fellow ex-gay survivor, Christine Bakke as it appeared in Glamour Magazine.

She recalls the church group her parents joined in Oregon, where instead of Halloween celebrations they held an annual Hallelujah Party with kids dressing as their favorite Bible characters. (Even at 11 she had a nonconformist streak: “All the girls wanted to be Mary,” she says, laughing. “I went as a leper!”)

I just e-mailed her to see if she had any of those torn and dirty rags to lend me this year.She replied,

we would be such an awesome halloween couple – you as lazarus me as a leper, both removing our rags….

perhaps we could do some kind of interpretive dance around this? 😉

(photo from Kung Fu Mike)

This post has 8 Comments

  1. Lij on October 31, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Our Halloween alternatives were called “Hallelujah Parties.” I identify with Christine wanting to be different — my final year of dressing up, I went as Jezebel and my friends went as dogs with pieces of my dress in their mouths.

    With that experience, I don’t feel like I missed out on the macabre parts of Halloween at all!

  2. Peterson Toscano on October 31, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    lij (Liz), lol, that is too funny and makes me want to think up other really outrageous and creepy Biblical costumes to create.

  3. Auntie Doris on October 31, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    Oh my goodness. So many ideas for my next fancy dress party. I thought I might go as Bathsheba. Could be a cheap costume 😉

  4. Plain Foolish on November 1, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Queen Vashti, here. I felt like she got a seriously bad rap for not wanting to be the king’s party girl. Not scary, at least not then – sadly, now that costume might well be seen as scary – a “princess” type dress, with a fancy shawl used as a veil over all of my face but my eyes.

    This year, I went as La Catrina – essentially, my grey plain dress, a “dancing skeletons” apron, my summer straw hat (huge brim, shallow crown) with a tourist lei wrapped around it, and enough grease paint to turn my face into a skull. After getting most of the greasepaint off, I used a mud mask to get the rest off… and my face still feels well moisturized today.

    I’m occasionally tempted to ask some folks the question that Azrael (the angel of death) asks in a Turkish folk tale collected in The Book of Dede Korkut “Do you not know the Oneness of God? I do only His will.”

  5. Daniel C on November 1, 2007 at 1:58 pm


  6. CrackerLilo on November 1, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Oh, I loved that when I read it!!!

    Love the pumpkin, too.

    That’s one reason my brother never joined the church, even when I tried so hard to get him into it. He didn’t want to give up trick or treating!

  7. Vince Cervantes on November 2, 2007 at 5:40 am

    Our Halloween replacements were called “Hallelujah Parties” too and the church I go to now has “Harvest Fest” Oh I remember when I was Noah, Moses, Daniel, oh and the year I wanted to be a Power Ranger they prayed for extra in Sunday school and told me that I was never to watch those “worldly” shows ever again.

    This year I was Ursula from the Little Mermaid…I doubt she is acceptable at the church though.

    It is so creepy and unfortunate how many churches respond to Halloween.

  8. brittanicals on November 15, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    My husband mistakenly took our boys to a “Haunted House” a few years ago that turned out to be one of the hell houses. Several ironies, including the fact that the “church kids” helping to run it were out back smoking weed (sorry, a little bit of “ha-ha” there), the fact that one of the characters protrayed as dead and in hell was there because of a motorcycle crash on the day he chose to ride his bike instead of go to church services (goddamn him anyway), the woman covered in blood with a dead fetus and going into hell, because she chose and abortion and died (yeah, like where is God’s grace when you most need it, and who cares if some woman with the post abortion trauma they speak of gets triggered all to hell?).

    The pastor came out after the presentation and asked my husband “did you pray?” to which Jim responded that it was between him and god, and none of his business.

    My youngest son, who was only six at the time, still talks about the people who think God is ok with lying–darn it, he just wanted some monsters and scary grape eyeballs in a bowl, and he got a church presentation. Seriously ticked him off. He also observed that maybe God wants people to have fun on motorcycles.

    Sorry to ramble, but this kind of thing is so weird to me.

    Oh, and I find “harvest parties” as an anti-pagan statement by churches the irony of irony– what could be more pagan, really, than celebrating the harvest?

Leave a Comment