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All Hallows ESP?

Growing up, Halloween reigned on high as my most favorite holiday.  All-time, best-ever, supergreat.  That’s right.  I loved it.  I love dressing up and I’ve had some really fun costumes: Marilyn Monroe, a black widow spider, a French Poodle, the Blue Fairy (all you Disney buffs should know that one), Jessica Rabbit, and Holly Golightly of Breakfast st Tiffany’s.  Honestly, I never even thought about the darker side of Halloween until I entered high school at a conservative Christian school in the Shenandoah Valley, where many of the students were not allowed to participate in Trick-or-Treating or other Halloween fun.

As typical rebellious teens, my four very best gal pals and I planned a Halloween party and invited everyone we could.  We created a table of delicious treats shaped to look completely disgusting or decorated with festive Halloween cuteness.  There were peeled grapes (eww!), RED punch (with lots of extra food coloring for dramatic effect, of course), and scary movies.  READ: we watched Girl Interrupted.  I was terrified.  Crazy people freak me out.

My friends and I separated people into the porchlighters and the nonporchlighters.  This references the universal symbol of “we have candy and welcome Trick-or-Treaters” which is a beaming front porch light on Halloween.  To our teenage brains, Halloween was simply a great time to dress up, watch movies, and wear stockings with spider webs on them in public.  We found Valentine’s Day more offensive than Halloween.

Skip ahead a few Halloweens…

In my first year of marriage, Josh was deployed for Halloween and I agreed to change out of my bathrobe and attend a Halloween party in Washington with a friend.  The party was a big deal to the girl taking me.  She planned her costume months in advance and encouraged me to scrape together a creative costume so I wouldn’t look ridiculous at the party.  I found my Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress, slapped on some Tina Fey makeup, and grabbed up some black gloves.  I looked in the mirror and felt miserable.  I missed my husband.  The tears just kept falling.  My makeup ended up streaming down my face in great dark rivers several times before leaving so I decided to wear a hat.  I grabbed a black hat with a wide brim from the top of my closet and ran down to the truck because I was the designated driver for the evening.  My friend climbed in and we were off, the black mesh veil kept covering my face as I drove.  I yanked on it but it just kept sliding down like the tears that I just couldn’t seem to stop.

We arrived at the party and admired everyone’s costume.  They, in turn, played the age-old game of guessing who you were dressed to be.  When they looked at my costume, they immediately said:

“Widow.”

“Jacky O.”

It then hit me.  Black dress, black veil, black gloves, tears… and a husband in some far away war-torn country.  And I was dressed as a widow.  Not good.  I found a place to sit down.  It was a sit down or faint type feeling.  In a room full of people, I’ve never felt so completely alone.  My friend attempted to distract me.  She couldn’t figure out what was wrong or why I couldn’t seem to turn it around.  I told her just to go have fun… that I just needed to sit still and organize my thoughts.  She grabbed me by the arm and hauled me to the truck.

“We’re going back to the house.”  Her voice felt like a slap.

She marched me to the truck angrily.  The crying really got going then.  I got behind the wheel and told her to stay at the party, that I would be back to pick her up.  Better yet, I could just hang out in the truck until the party was over.  She climbed in the passenger side and started yelling at me to drive to the house.  “The night is ruined anyway,” she said.  “Just drive.”

I drove.  Sobbing.  I wanted to get away from her.  I wanted out of those clothes.  I wanted the sinking feeling in my belly to go away.

She continued to rant about her costume, the party, and why I couldn’t just stop crying.  It was just a costume, after all.

“Shut up.”  I whispered.

“What?” She screamed.

“Just shut up.”  I announced.

And she did.  She never spoke to me again.  I’d ruined her Halloween.  The porch light was officially off.

Did I mention that crazy people freak me out?

When Josh returned from that deployment, he told me that while I was at the party, he and his squad were traveling and the road washed out beneath their vehicle.  The vehicle flipped into a flooded ditch and the squad hung from the equipment and belts upside down in the cold muddy waters of Afghanistan.  By some miracle, they were able to get out but had the water been just a little deeper… they might have all drowned.

Had I sensed my husband’s danger?  Was it just the costume?

The following Halloween, we were in a different state, a different house, a new chapter in our life together.  Josh and I purchased two pumpkins and carved them using patterns we found online.  It was Josh’s first time carving a pumpkin.  We carved our pumpkins and placed candles inside.  We sat on the front porch holding hands and quietly watching the flickering orange glow of our jack o’ lanterns in the cool October evening… both of us lost in thought (no doubt reflecting on where we were a year ago that very day).

Are you a porchlighter or a nonporchlighter?

  • gingela5 - That’s a great (sad) story! Kind of eerie…I love Halloween–my husband isn’t as big of a fan. But we still carve pumpkins and decorate. I guess I’m a porch lighter!ReplyCancel

  • Valarie Lea - I’m sorry, she does not sound like much of a friend.

    I am not a porch lighter. Mainly because I live at the end of a dead end road, covered with trees, and an old cemetary in the front yard of my Sister-in-Laws house just up the road. We never get any trick or treaters. SO we just particiapate in Trunk or Treat at Church.ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - We are non-porch lighters. We don’t participate in Halloween. We feel it would be displeasing to our Heavenly Father to do so.ReplyCancel

  • tipper - Lacy-I hope this Halloween is special for you and Josh both!!ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - Dear Lacy,
    We are not porch lighters. We feel the same as “Laurie” does. We do not condemn others. That is their own personal walk with Him. lol Love AlwaysReplyCancel

  • Barb - Hummm…porch light ON? OFF?…no one ever comes to find out!
    I always dressed up as a Hobo, as long as I can remember having the choice…must have been some intuition into my future… *winkReplyCancel

  • Robin - Your friend’s behavior makes me sad. Party comes before my friend? Um, no. My friends always come before. I’m sorry that happened to you.

    We do not turn on our porch light.

    Have a SUPER Tuesday!!

    (P.S. My son is officially a soldier today! He’s on his way to Basic at Fort Sill, OK.)ReplyCancel

  • Momisodes - I am so sorry your friend acted that way! That is awful.

    We are porch lighters. I adore seeing all of the children in the neighborhood and meeting new neighbors 🙂ReplyCancel

  • mojavi at Simple Things - Ohhh I am so excited about Halloween this year! I am so sorry your friend was soooo NOT a friend to you!

    We are a porch light ON family in fact we decorate the house Oct 1st! This year I am making Kya an abby kaddabie costume. And a baby zoe for the new baby.

    I can’t wait till you have kids to dress up!ReplyCancel

  • Julie at Elisharose - Every year we read “The Pumpkin Patch Parable” by Liz Curtis Higgs (a wonderful book) and then carve a friendly pumpkin.

    Usually we are at church that night doing something fun and not scary.ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - I’d love to experience Halloween in the US! Here, Halloween only has a commercial value and isn’t anything like in your country! There are no pumpkin decorations, no trick or treating kids, nor disguises…

    Cheers,

    RosaReplyCancel

  • CrossView - Your story broke my heart. Not because of the selfishness of your friend so much – that kinda made me mad. But more because I know what it’s like to miss my husband when he’s gone and how hard it is to try and have fun… =(

    We don’t trun our light on simply because we have no real neighbors. LOL!

    Growing up, we loved the evening. All children’s innocent fun. Costumes and candy and the thrill of being out after dark- with supervision, of course. The churches hadn’t yet mandated that it was bad…ReplyCancel

  • marky - I am a porch light, but we won’t do scary.. we do fun!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Sue - No porchlight here – but then we are about 700 feet off a highway behind a closed gate – so we don’t get any trick or treaters. I’ve gone back and forth about the “meaning” of Halloween – it is a kid’s holiday – nothing wrong with it until adults get all involved in it.(sort of like most childhood pleasures ) Your experience while Josh was deployed was truly sad – your friend had no understanding of your feelings and holy crud what a connection to Josh’s situation YOU had.ReplyCancel

  • Fishing Guy - Lacy: That had to be a hard story to share. I do hope in the sharing that the incident is behind you and you can look forward to many good Halloweens ahead.
    I feel badly when people confuse what is celebrated today with something that is evil.ReplyCancel

  • Kath - We are porch lighters. Its for the kids. They love to carve the pumpkins and set them out. We never buy a costume but always just throw something together that turns out cute. And they stop by our friends in town.

    So not into all the gory stuff. Eeewww.

    The real reason my kids like Halloween is that I process the pumpkin seeds and pumpkin for yummy treats!!

    That was one unusal night. Hope you have a happy Halloween with your hubs this year too.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - I really enjoyed your post. It is very well done, in giving us a piece of you. I find people have very strong feelings about Halloween. It was difficult reading blogs last year with some of the things people were saying in their posts. I find that porchlighters and non porchlighters alike are defencive and very assertive in their opinion and the majority on either side show intolerance and even animosity to the other side for their opinion. After reading a number of blogs from people who are not “funamental Christians” last year, I found they’re rants to be quite nasty toward Christians who are not porchlighters accusing them of ruining their children, accusing them of being party poopers who ruin Halloween for the masses. There are a lot of Christians out there who speak out against Halloween calling down those who choose to celebrate. It is sad that on both sides, so many people can’t just let others do their own thing, without criticism and chiding. Last year I didn’t comment on most of the posts finding them quite rude. I did comment on one saying the porchlighters are behaving in the same way in which the non porchlighters they are criticizing. She had an agreeable response. Anyway, to cut this short bwaaaaaaahhhhhhhahahahah….yeah, I mean to stop going on and on, I loved your post because it was very non-judgemental and I think you and I are very much alike in that way, opinionated, but loving and basically non-judgemental with other’s choices.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Oh, you asked. I am a nonporchlighter.ReplyCancel

  • Paula - Oooh, this post gave me goosebumps. I think for sure that you felt the danger Josh was in. Wow!
    I am definately a porch-lighter. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, definately WAY above Valentines day!!ReplyCancel

  • Jana - I’m a PORCHLIGHTER!!!

    And I don’t like that girl.

    And I’m extremely happy that Josh was okay.

    And I think you are a beautiful person. :o)ReplyCancel

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