Monday, October 5, 2020

Halloween Prep: Sports and Spirituality Style

Devoid of any specific expectations, I am very excited for the holiday season. I have already seen posts from friends horrified by Costco's Christmas trees and/or the snowy village on sale now at Home Depot. I'm not thrilled about jumping this shark—or rather this Santa—but I just don't have the energy to be angry about this. Thank you, Covid. Instead, I am doing all I can to enjoy autumn. I am embracing the days getting shorter, the signs of harvest and the orange and black of Halloween.

Halloween is more popular than any other holiday in San Francisco. Perhaps it's a reflection of the arrested development of the city, but October 31 is far from a celebration just for children. Homes here are decorated with lights, spider webs, tombstones, goblins, witches, pumpkins and more. Even though Halloween has allegedly been cancelled in 2020, I have a few ideas for how one can prepare for this holiday—Sports and Spirituality style, pandemic or not.

Costumes: Trick or treating is not required. People love dressing up for Halloween! While many devout, if not orthodox Catholics will recommend that children dress up like saints, I don't think you can ever go wrong as an Olympian, an athlete representing your favorite sports team or even better a great mascot! I am not a fan of costume that includes the adjective "sexy." Please, no "sexy" referee, nun, priest, deacon or defensive back. Thanks. Creativity is always a plus. If you are from our nation's capital, I dare you to dress up as a representative of the Washington Football Team. Good luck.

Candy: For me to recommend a healthy snack—a bag of trail mix, organic chocolate, a protein bar—for your trick-or-treaters might be prudent, but it would also be hypocritical. It would be honorable and yet it would be untruthful. The fact of the matter is I always wanted candy. I still remember the thrill of receiving a king sized candy bar from former Oakland Raiders' coach John Madden. In short, more is more.

Curriculum: I think it's important for young people to learn the legends that surround All Hallow's Eve. Those with DisneyPlus ought to view "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and for younger children "Donald Duck's Trick or Treat." These movies speak to the spirit of the American holiday. The religious roots of it are well served in Jim Martin SJ's video on Busted Halo entitled "Saints and All Hallow's Eve."

And for those who want a classic thriller, a true horror film—rather than watching "Halloween" (1978), "Hocus Pocus" (1993), or "The Exorcist" (1973), give this recommendation a thought. 

My friend Jimmy wrote, "if past sports competitions were scary movies, what’s your top 5?" What a profound question, for in many ways, the analogy works. Both elicit adrenaline and keep you on the edge of your seat. Most times, such stories do not end well. People get mutilated, the pain runs deep. It's rare that one wants to watch either again.

I will let my next post both reveal his top five....and mine. 

Halloween will take place on a Saturday this year, the Sabbath. Though our spirits have been challenged, damaged and even bruised amidst social turmoil, economic strife, political division and personal health, we must look for signs of resilience and grit, hope and determination. To celebrate and find joy in something as simple as secular holiday might be more important than ever. Happy Halloween!

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