Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Halloween is for Grown-Ups
- How do your childhood experiences of Halloween compare to your experiences of Halloween as an adult? How have the meanings of various holidays changed for you over the years?
- Do you notice a similar spirit of equity among trick-or-treaters—and a spirit of competition among adults—as the author describes?
- How might the childhood fun of Halloween lead the way of “wolves and lambs” finding peace together?
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. – Isaiah 11:6 (NRSV)
I live on a very Halloween-y block. You know the kind of block I’m talking about, where every house has decorations up and a candy bowl that never runs dry. Where there’s always that one pair of dads locked in a spooky-season arms race with increasingly elaborate set-ups. The kind of street that the whisper network says might have full-sized candy bars.
When we moved onto the block, our neighbors told us to get at least 1,000 pieces of candy. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am locked in an arms race over jack-o-lanterns. Namely, whose is the biggest and awesome-est. (Mine, in case you were wondering).
And as much as I enjoyed Halloween as a child, I enjoy it more as an adult than I ever did. The kids from the tony parts of town stand on level ground with the kids from the other side of the tracks. The tiny wobblers struggling to remember the words they’re supposed to say walk in the same line as the surly teenagers struggling to bring themselves to say it. The parents, dewy-eyed, take video as their kids brave the front steps of a stranger’s house, protected by nothing but a Paw Patrol costume. Everyone has a gift to give, good things are there for the asking, and the barriers between us fall for a night.
This holiday is supposedly for kids, but don’t you believe it. Halloween is there to remind us grown-ups about generosity, and fun, and mystery, and joy.
God, thank you for children, they help us grown-ups remember the joy of living.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.