Between cops and robbers, super heroes and super villains, and good and evil, the imagination of my youth was filled with the tension between right and wrong. I was raised in a church that fundamentally opposed the festivities of Halloween. It was the celebration of evil that, in theory, involved pentagrams, human sacrifice, and unadulterated evil. The reality, however, is far less exciting.
I donned my costume and paraded about the neighborhood accepting bribes in lieu of retribution–trick or treat. And somewhere in the back of my mind I contemplated this act as a foreshadowing of the adult-world to come. In the dark reaches of my mind, I contemplated the true “tricks” that were occurring that night. Those days never came.
As I have gotten older, the polarity between good and evil seems more like a crevice than a chasm. Sure, there’s witchcraft and wizardry just like there’s revival and pentecost, but for the most part the imagination of my youth has met a dull and mediocre retail experience. Halloween is the second largest retail holiday of the year. Christmas is the largest commercial holiday, and while we are reminded to remember “the reason for the season,” we are still quite comfortable to numb the pain of our best intentions with another gift at the top of the stack.
This is obviously a #firstworldproblem. Our commercialism sucks meaning and polarity out of everything that it touches, and we are left with something that vaguely resembles the other. I’m not sure that I could handle the discomfort of a world any other way, so tonight I’ll help the kids don their costumes and collect their obligatory treats. We’ll all go on as if there is good and evil without really experiencing either.