Halloween/Reformation Day Linkathon: Equal Opportunity Holidays, Fat Letters, Midnight Coteries, The Returned and more Lou Reed

A quick grab bag in honor of the day: 1. Over at Liberate Nick Lannon […]

David Zahl / 10.31.13

A quick grab bag in honor of the day:

1. Over at Liberate Nick Lannon reflects on the gratuity of Halloween relative to Christmas, stating from the outset that “Halloween has become more Christian than Christmas”. He’s not wrong:

“Consider the theological implications of Halloween. Halloween is the ultimate equal opportunity holiday. EVERYONE gets candy. On the surface, it’s the picture of the Gospel!  There is no checking of qualifications at the door. You come, you receive. Christmas, on the other hand… well, you know the song:  ‘He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice. Santa Claus is coming to town.’ Yikes!”

Nick would be the first to tell you that he took some inspiration from Aaron Zimmerman’s excellent sermon on the subject, one that I find myself going back to year after year, “Instant Karma Got Him”. And speaking of perennial Mbird Halloween faves, let’s not forget this.


2. This is not to say that the holiday can’t be co-opted by the polar opposite spirit, that of law and judgment and self-seriousness. The Huffington Post reported on one particularly jaw-dropping (and depressing) such instance. You don’t need a magician’s costume to predict that unintended consequences will result, ht BJ:

Children in a North Dakota neighborhood may be slated to get an awful surprise this Halloween: A local woman is reportedly planning to hand out “fat letters,” instead of candy, to kids she thinks are “moderately obese.”

Valley News Live reported a local Fargo woman called into Y-94 radio recently and revealed her plan to take on childhood obesity by handing out letters targeting trick-or-treaters whom she considers obese.

“I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight,” she told the station. “I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it.”

We’ll see plenty of superheroes and ghosts and princesses out there this evening, but I doubt anyone’s dressing up as someone capable of responding to Law-induced shame in a constructive way–too much suspension of disbelief? Of course, the religious version of the “fat letter” may be the Hell House, about which First Things has a number of relevant things to say.

3. On the lighter side, there’s The Onion’s classic, “Lone House With No Halloween Decorations By Far Spookiest in Neighborhood.” And if you haven’t seen SNL’s Wes Anderson horror parody, “The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders”, it’s viral film-making at its finest (You had me at “Wes Anderson”!):


4. On the Reformation Day side of things, there are the Hipster Martin Luther memes, as well as the never-gets-old Lutheran Insulter.

5. If you’re looking for a confluence of the two celebrations, with all the historical trimmings thrown in, Internet Monk did us all a favor by re-posting Michael Spencer’s Favorite Halloween article.

6. The Tablet has given us “Zombies, Vampires, and Things That Come Back to Life: A Rabbi’s Take on Halloween and Beyond” and as much fun as today is, I think we can all get behind the central thesis statement, ht RW:

“Here is my position on zombies… I would like a tiny fraction of all the money, time, and resources spent on zombies and vampires and ‘the undead’ to be spent on coming to terms with real death and what it means for our lives.”

7. Next, this looks amazing:

8. And finally, a timely tribute to the fallen master: