Growing up, Halloween was my favorite holiday. I forget at what age, but at some point my father had to issue the rule that I was not allowed to decorate the house for Halloween until after October 1.

Like modern day retailers, I was eager for the holidays to arrive, but none more so than Halloween. In my community, trick or treating was huge. You went to everybody’s house, it did not matter if you knew them or not. Everybody walked all over the place (streets/sidewalks/yards) going from one place to another. It really was a community celebration and being afraid of other people was not a part of the celebration.

Thus, I was shocked when my junior high band director (I was only in band for one year) opted out of not dressing up one day for Halloween when the whole school was invited to wear costumes. Someone asked him in rehearsal why he was not dressed up and he replied, “Because I don’t believe in celebrating the Devil.” We sat there stunned and in shock – neither did we! And then I bravely mentioned that one of our English teachers, married to the Baptist minister in town had dressed up for the day. I was sure she wasn’t celebrating the Devil either. He looked straight at me and said, “Well, this is probably a conversation to have when you’re older.”

He’s long since left the school and I wouldn’t know how to contact him if I wanted to. I remember talking to my parents that evening and we discussed how we felt sorry for the band director. Something as simple and fun as wearing a costume and getting candy at night was seen to him as evil. I don’t remember anything else about this band director or that entire year in band except this moment. I’m not sure how or why this has stuck in my memory; however, I would guess it’s because even as a kid I remember questioning what type of religion wouldn’t want people to enjoy the richness of life.