Sunday, October 31, 2021

Treats for Everyone

The major portion of this post is the article I wrote for the "Forward In Faith" section of the award winning Hillsboro Banner weekly newspaper of Hillsboro ND, published October 29th.  As of now the four clergy of the four congregations rotate weekly in submitting an article. Hopefully in 2022, other ministry staff and a deacon will join in sharing their written perspectives. The photographs in this post were not part of the newspaper article. 

Carving pumpkins occurred, but all the emphasis on Halloween was unheard of. No special parties, costumes, or treats in elementary school. Trick or treating was rare. Some churches had activities to provide children and parents options to save them from the occult nature of the day. This was six decades ago in a southeastern Minnesota farming community.

A quick errand through the grocery store provided gratitude that dispensing candy has not been a part of my recent Halloween recognition. Price tags ranged from $4.00 for the small, single variety bag to $25.00 for the multiple candies in a large bag. There were a few options between these extremes, as well. Yet in past years when my children were young, the costumes and candy buffet were part of the rite of October’s end. Actually, my wife did the decorating and costume design. I enjoyed greeting the ghouls or walking the streets with my costumed kids. It was all good fun with lighthearted, random sociability with others who sought sugary treats.

For the past decade living in condominium communities has reduced children or youth coming to the door to a trickle. Some condo kids or grandkids may come by, but the adults usually ask permission ahead of time. Thus expensive candy stays on the store shelves. I now ask the parent what their child(ren) may enjoy and selectively shop. This is so easy, as well as saving me from ingesting too much sugar from the leftovers. Decorations? Nothing but pumpkins, fall potted plants, and possibly a shock of corn. Again, this is up to my wife. I have no worries about saving children or adults from plunging into the abyss of vile vastitudes. It is a cultural celebration that has little connection to its origins. We seem to do the same with November and December holidays, as well.

Now I make it a habit to tour the area on foot or bike to see the elaborate decorations. Maybe it is my penchant for purple and orange colors? Maybe it is the fascination with twinkling lights and air-filled figurines? Or the awesome creativity displayed in massive yard scenes? No matter, I find the spectacle to be enjoyable and exhilarating. And more importantly, I can take in the sensory stimulation without taking down displays in frigid November temperatures! 

I encourage you, whether you share copious amounts of candy with strangers dressed in weird attire, enjoy adding new decorations to your collection, take in the artful decorations via drive or hike, or simply binge watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, to share something more. The local food pantries provide more than miniature chocolates. These organizations provide meals. The pantry distributes hope. The array of colors on packaging is monstrous. And your contribution provides more than a short-term sugar rush. The cultural celebration of caring for others by providing life sustaining products in concrete ways does have a connection to the origins of creation!

I will be returning Sunday from an all day Saturday, 100+ mile fatbike event which occurred in Wisconsin. Plans are to get home well before the costumed humans begin taking over the residential streets. I also want to see the child from the adjacent condo. He will no doubt be our only visitor. On Monday, food items from fun to functional will be purchased and delivered to the food pantry so everyone can get a treat!

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