Spirituality & Theology, Society & Culture

A Halloween Tale with a Unitarian Twist

The bell rang, and Bobby Murdock ran down the hall to find his friend, Beverly. “Hey, Bev,” he shouted. “Walk home with me? I want you to meet my Mom. She’s swell. You’ll like her.” “I guess so,” she said. They walked three blocks to his house. It was an older, two-story house on a tree-lined street. As they went up the front walk, Beverly let out a chilling scream. “What’s wrong?” Bobby asked. She pointed at the front porch. “What—? Oh, that. It’s just a jack-o’-lantern, silly. Did it scare you?” The carved pumpkin sat at the top of the porch stairs, a demonic grin peering out at any unsuspecting visitor.

“Come on,” Bobby said, and grabbed her hand. He pulled her up the stairs, past the threatening squash, she was too scared to look at. “Mom,” he called. “I’m in the kitchen, Bobby.” They went in to the kitchen and found Monica Murdock taking a pumpkin pie out of the oven. This was what was left of the grinning gourd on the front porch.

“This here’s Bev – Beverly. She’s from school.” “Nice to meet you Beverly.” “Pleased to meet you, Ma’am,” she said shyly. “She was scared of the jack-o’-lantern,” Bobby teased. “She’s such a girl.” “I never saw nothin’ like that before, Mrs. — ” “Ms. Murdock. You never carved a pumpkin before?” “No, no. Why did you do that?” “It’s fun,” Bobby said. “Don’t you do Halloween?” “You mean Helloween?” she said testily. “That’s what my Granpappy called it. It’s the Devil’s Day. That’s what that thing on the porch looks like. The Devil.”

“Beverly,” Monica said softly. “We’re having a party next week. A lot of the kids from school will be there. Bobby, wouldn’t you like to have Beverly come to the party?” “I guess. I mean, sure. Why not?” “I’ll take you home now and talk to your Mother. Ask her if you can come to the party. OK?” “OK.” They got in the car and drove to Beverly’s house. Her mother was home. Monica introduced herself, and offered her the pumpkin pie as a gift. “Mrs. Lindsay, we’re having a party next week and we’d like, Bobby’d like, Beverly to come.” “It’s not a Halloween party, is it?” “Yes, it’s a Halloween party.” “She can’t go. Halloween is evil.” “Mrs. Lindsay, I’m the minister at Free Faith Fellowship.” “What kind of church is that?” “Unitarian.” “That’s not Christian, is it?” “We have many different beliefs. We all believe in goodness. I wouldn’t celebrate a holiday if I thought it was evil.” “But Halloween is pagan, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Halloween has pagan roots, and Christian roots, and secular roots. Most of all, it’s a time for children to learn about differences, to come to terms with their fears, and to have fun together.”

“My father was a Pentecostal preacher. He would never allow it.”

“I respect his views. But I don’t share them. If you would let Beverly come to the party, I’m sure you would see how much good it did for her. You come, too. Please. I think you’ll enjoy it.”

Beverly’s Mother was quiet, then she said. “I always wanted to go trick-or-treating when I was a little girl. Papa would never allow it. I never really believed what he said, but I was afraid to speak up.” “So you’ll come, both of you?” “I – I guess so,” she said slowly.

Halloween found Beverly at Monica’s party, dressed as an angel. Bobby, of course, was a devil.


You’re invited to All Souls
Monday, October 29 | 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Costumes encouraged! Pizza for sale by the slice!

Have a spooky-good time at our family-friendly Halloween Party! Play games, have your fortune read, make spooky crafts, and see if you can make it through our haunted house! Our Spooktacular Halloween Party is geared for children 6th grade and younger.  Our 7th and 8th graders create and work our haunted house and Youth (and adults) are encouraged to sign up to help lead carnival-style games.

Sid Martin is a member of All Souls’ Writer’s Workshop and a regular contributor to beyondbelief.online. Read more from him about life’s transitions, renewal and death and his take on Love Beyond Belief.

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