When they were little, my kids were terrified of people dressed in costumes where faces were totally covered, when recognition was impossible.
Disney was a disaster. Not the happiest place on earth for my family. All the characters roaming the park, life-sized and looming over their small frames, presented a new opportunity for fear.
Every Halloween was a challenge. We avoided it for a while, taking the kids to one of those places where you eat pizza, play games, and earn tickets to trade in for worthless prizes. That satisfied for a short time–especially if we bought candy to sweeten the deal.
When the yearning for trick-or-treating became great, we dressed them in non-frightening costumes–princesses, soccer players, inanimate objects like a giant tomato or marshmallow. Things I could create from whatever was on hand at home and that didn’t require purchased parts.
As they grew, their fear lessened. They would go trick-or-treating with friends, still dressed in costumes that weren’t ghoulish. I’ve never been a fan of the fearsome, so cute and clever trumped shocking and spooky.
There’d always be those kids who dressed in the most frightening costumes imaginable. Zombies, the grim reaper, anything with blood or ooze coming from wounds or crevices. They were those kids who lived for the scary. I still remember the year a young man came to the door, carrying a bloody head in his arms, with no head on his shoulders. More than a little unsettling.
The grands this year will go as fun and funny things–Fancy Nancy, Olaf, a monkey, a knight, Luigi, Squirtle–whimsical and cute.
No bloody mess.
There’s so much in life now that brings fear; we don’t need to exaggerate it. The fun of Halloween and dressing up has become a subtle reminder of how anxiety fills our world. Dare the darkness in this yearly celebration. Don’t let it overwhelm you.
Fear has become a much greater part of our culture, and it’s not the common fear of things that go bump in the night or walking down dark and lonely streets. We fear doing something that may be taken wrong or saying something that may be misunderstood. We’re afraid of offending or being offended.
We’re afraid we don’t matter.
Fear is part of life because evil is real. We have an enemy who is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy all the hope and joy we have and to keep us from turning to God for His help.
God is bigger than fear.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
We will face fear throughout life. But we don’t have to do it alone. God offers to be present with us, providing the strength to deal with what feels impossible, the hope to endure what seems hopeless. Jesus conquered the very core of fear on the cross.
It doesn’t matter how fear appears.
God’s offer of love and hope is greater.