Saturday, October 24, 2009

Countdown to Halloween '09: Father John is on the Scene

Verily, I say unto thee ... who's cooler than Father John? Seriously folks, this is what I'm talking about. As you know from previous years, the Sugar Baby and I have a rigid Halloween schedule. There's the trick-or-treat downtown during the day and then neighborhood trick-or-treating at night. This year there's the library party and the preschool parade, too. (Yes, of course I signed up to bring in the Halloween snack.)
But the holiday just wouldn't be the same without a visit to Father John. (For an update, here's 2008, and 2007 and more 2007.) So as I was planning this year's schedule, it occurred to me: Halloween is on a Saturday night. But Mass is also said on Saturday night. Panic struck! Would Father John be giving out candy this year? If so, would it only be after Mass (too late for us to stop by)? Would we miss our annual visit to Father John and his basket o' full-sized candy bars?
As fate would have it, my mother told me to go to the church's website and read this week's bulletin. Here you go:
"On a completely different note, next Saturday is
the Eve of All Saint's Day, Halloween! Sometimes
you read an article that condemns this holiday as a
glorification of the darker aspects of the pagan realm.
To be honest, I really don't think most people take
that route. From my side of the trick-or-treat door, I
see a lot of fun family activity as Moms and Dads
prowl the nighttime streets with the kids of their
neighborhood in search of that key element of the
Halloween experience: CANDYBARS!
Candybars---full size, top tier---are what will
given out from the rectory door next Saturday. Last
year we broke a record with over 160 kids (....and
one dog.....or someone in a really good dog costume....).
With Halloween falling on a Saturday, I
hope we can smash that record like an old pumpkin!
Let's try for 200! Spread the word, bring your
friends! A giant basket of candy awaits the ghastly
and ghoulish and masked and marvelous!"

Hooray! Halloween is saved! But on a more serious note, I really like what he said. Some religious groups condemn Halloween as an evening of evil, but honestly, look at it for what it is. Just like Father John said, it's a night for parents to be with their kids and bond over a candy-plundering adventure. Halloween should be heralded for bringing families and neighborhoods together. How often during this day and age do you ever ring your neighbor's doorbell to say hi? (Well, in our case, quite often, especially when there are martinis involved.) But otherwise, most of us just stay locked up in our houses and only walk from the front door to the car. For one night a year, we all break that habit and actually get out there and stroll the streets, greeting people we just usually wave to. (I really think Father John should write an op-ed piece on this. It bears much more weight coming from a member of the clergy.)
Anyhow, just to be safe, I e-mailed Father John and asked him when he planned on manning the big basket of candy. He said he was trying to get another priest to fill in for him so he wouldn't miss any trick-or-treaters. (I didn't know priests could switch shifts like that. I suppose it makes sense.) So I am READY for Halloween! Well, almost anyway. My costume isn't quite finished and-- yikes!-- the Sugar Baby appears to be coming down with a cold. He has six days to recover. Cross your fingers and say a prayer because I will not miss out on Halloween.


Amanda said...

Father John sounds like a good egg.

CandyProfessor said...

I like your Halloween spirit! I've been thinking about what happens in neighborhoods with strong trick-or-treat traditions. It really is about community, welcoming strangers, sharing hospitality. And the idea of each house giving candy to every child who comes to the door is sort of an "it takes a village" moment, all the adults are responsible (for that night, anyway) for each of the children. We always were so suspicious and resentful of the dark house that didn't want to be part of trick-or-treat; it's like they don't want to be part of the community either.