How about handing out Bibles while wearing identical white T-shirts with the rest of your youth group?
Jesus-Ween, or Jesus-Win, is a contrived holiday which will attempt to reinvent Halloween into something more wholesome; or as my friend told me after looking at their Web site, something a little sadder than people who hand out pennies for Trick Or Treat.
In between singing lines like “And if the Devil Doesn’t Like it he can sit on a tack. Ouch!” with uniformity that the North Korean Army would envy and arguing whose mother gave out the sexiest purity ring, teens across the country are having a spiritual fall holiday without all the candy and toilet paper and casual drug use millions of other teens take part in every Oct. 31 without somehow summoning an elder god who drowns the planet in maggots he vomits from each of his 666 mouths.
I don’t want to make fun of these people. I don’t want to bitch about how their loyalty oaths promise to retake the holiday and turn it into World Evangelism Day. I don’t want to make fun of their website, which looks like Thomas Kinkaid threw up in my browser.
I want to shy away from forced outrage against a group of people who will never succeed in ruining Halloween for the normals. I’ve been following their Facebook updates for weeks and it’s heartwarming how they celebrate whenever there’s a news story about an elementary school in Kansas that disciplined a third grader for coming to class dressed like Ed Gein.
Halloween is going to be fine. While lesser holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and St. Patrick’s day are fatally flawed by church, interacting with your family and drunk fratboy assholes hooting at “The Boondock Saints,” Halloween retains it’s credibility. It’s the most fun you can possibly have while waiting for the natural world to rot and die for another winter marked by seasonal affective disorder, nosebleeds from forced air heating and cutting yourself with whatever’s handy as the sun goes down at four in the afternoon.
Halloween succeeds on its own merits: candy, booze, horror movies, the Great Pumpkin, urban legends about people force-feeding razor blades to children and people dressing as the walking corpse of whatever important person died that year. Its superiority is because this all happens organically. Cool is self-sustaining and it doesn’t need an evangelist.
But people need to appreciate where this all comes from. Halloween, deep in its roots, is protection. The holiday gives us a ritual with which we can interact with existential we’re-all-gonna-beat-dirt-in-the-ground drama that should be turning everyone into nihilistic serial killers. Without such release valves, society would have a tense Thanksgiving, a worse Christmas and the self-immolations would start at some point during the Super Bowl halftime show when the curtain rises to reveal one half of Smash Mouth eating the other half.
But taking the theatrics of Halloween too seriously, as Jesus-Ween would have us do, is also dangerous.
Because believing in the Devil just makes it easier for Him to find you. The Abyss needs to be dealt with carefully, because It’s always looking for a foothold.
A summer camp counselor is telling the children in her bunk a ghost story. Once upon a time, a little boy’s overbearing mother choked to death on a ham sandwich. He wasn’t around to call for help because he disobeyed his mother and was playing outside instead of doing his homework indoors like a good child. To this day, the mother’s vengeful ghost tortures her son by gagging loudly when he tries to play, when he’s making new friends and just as he’s ready to fall asleep every night. The campers, with rapt attention, are hooked on every word of the story.
But the counselor stops just before the end. She quits and flatly tells the campers she’s sorry, but the story didn’t actually happen to a cousin of her friend like she told them at the beginning. It was all made up crap, she says. She lets her campers know that there are no real ghosts, no actual monsters. In calm, paced tones, she tells the children that as they get older they’ll realize there is nothing hiding behind the basement furnace. Nothing is waiting until their back is turned to grab them around the ankle with a slender arm and drag them under the stairs.
The counselor says when the campers are older they’ll realize all the monsters they could ever handle were already inside them, in their parents’ heads and in the minds of every new person they meet.
Just like the monsters always wanted.
So much of the world is a disgusting hellhole, and that’s just the stuff that floats to the surface. An enormous demographic of people instructed by God to keep these things from happening are more concerned that “Disney’s Halloween Treat” is an initiation into a goat-worshiping, free-love LSD cult. If you contemplate it for too long you’re bound to reach the conclusion that we’re living in a universe which is indifferent to everything except its love affairs with Absolute Zero and entropy. In the end, it would almost be pleasant to have a flesh-eating ghoul who cared enough to stalk you through your house at night.
You have to deal with this madness on your own terms or you’ll go psycho.
Horror is gift. Halloween is necessary. Gorging yourself on sixlets and candy apples and throwing up into a plastic Captain America mask is a human fucking right.