All posts tagged: occult

A Defense of Devil Costumes

This year, like every year, parishes will hold alternative Halloween parties. And this year, like every year, pastors will adjure parents not to dress their children as devils. This proscription usually extends to the occult: no soothsayers, no pythonesses. Sometimes it also extends to the ghoulish: no undead of any stripe, whether zombie, revenant, or draugr. And maybe your pastor, like mine, will push further still: no superheroes or television characters—only saints or holy angels. This often tempts me to dress my sons as St. Sebastian, riven with arrows. Or as St. Bartholomew, whose flayed skin he dons like a shawl. Or as the shade of the prophet Samuel, conjured by the enchantress of Endor. Or else as the angel of death—surely he passes muster. Costume casuistry aside, I get the sentiment. Best to promote holy exemplars over wicked ones. Still, I am puzzled by this. Puzzlement is not surprise, of course: I have suffered under the ban on ghoul and devil costumes since my fundamentalist youth. That fundamentalists should prove squeamish about the devils …