Trick or Treat
By A. Ray Lee
Effie and I had taken our five-year-old granddaughter trick or treating on Halloween night. I must admit I was not overly thrilled with the adventure because we live in the country and have few close neighbors. It meant we needed to drive into an area where we were not known nor did we know the residents living there. But being a dutiful grandfather I reluctantly agreed to the adventure.
We did not feel comfortable allowing our young granddaughter to walk with older children and young teenagers so we slowly drove along the street as she collected the treats provided by participating residents who loved children and had outside lights on to welcome them. Often she was greeted by a specter dressed in a garish costume and cackling like a witch. I breathed a sigh of relief as we completed a circle thinking we could now go home and have a mug of hot chocolate. But it was not to be. An excited voice from the back seat exclaimed “my basket is full” and then “it’s time I have another one.”
So the trick was on me. We found a plastic bag in which to empty her basket and I grumbled as we drove down another street. Is it any wonder that I am sometimes called “Old Scrooge”? We eventually made it home and carefully checked all items collected having heard horror stories of evil minds hiding razor blades in apples and giving contaminated candies. In the process, I must confess I appropriated a few treats for myself.
Today the emphasis is on treats, but in the days of my youth on the farm, the emphasis was much more on tricks. There were few treats. Although one Halloween night when I was still in grade school I was able to attend a harvest festival in the school gymnasium decorated with pumpkins carved into jack-o-lanterns, colored ears of corn, various displays illustrating the harvest season, simple games, and the crowning of a harvest queen. I remember that experience as being a great treat for me.
However, creative youth sought unique ways to play tricks on unsuspecting individuals. One trick was to disassemble a farm wagon and piece by piece carry it into an enclosure with a narrow entrance and put it back together leaving the disgusted farmer with the headache of getting it out.
Although Halloween has a long history as a pagan celebration with haunted houses, scary movies, and emphasis upon evil creatures out to get children, etc., the church has found ways to convert it into an opportunity to show love for children. Instead of trick or treating children have the opportunity of attending a trunk or treat event where adults supervise the distribution of safe and wholesome goodies. A spiritual principle is thus illustrated. Satan tricks mankind, but God’s treats are available for those who trust him.
Postscript: Happy Birthday to my cousin who was born on Halloween night more years ago than either of us care to remember. Question: were you a trick or treat?