So Halloween is this Thursday (hurray!), and I thought that it would be timely to take a look at one of the Chick tracts surrounding that silliest of holidays.
This week’s tract is called Boo! and it has nothing to do with either of these lovely people:
Aren’t they cute?
Getting back to the subject at hand, our tract gives the story of a Halloween party gone horribly wrong followed by a guy and his pastor talking about Satan.
The scene opens on Camp Basil Bub (clearly we’re dealing with Canadians who really love their Italian food) where a nameless guy is telling his nameless friend about the great deal that he got for renting out the entire campground for $50. I mention that these two guys are nameless because it’s not important (spoiler alert: they die along with everyone else at this Halloween party). At least in giving us a horror story about mass murder and ritual sacrifice, Chick understands that no one cares about the jerks who are going to be our ritual sacrifice (I’ve probably seen Cabin in the Woods too many times now) for this tract.
Of course, as with any party that involves high schoolers and sacrificing cats, Satan has to show up with a pumpkin on his head to terrorize everyone, saying that he’d rather have human sacrifices than feline ones. In the confusion someone manages to call the cops, who show up and discover that they’re facing the devil (also, these cops have a bizarre dialect that seems like a mash-up of Irish colloquialisms and Southern drawl; really weird for Canadians), which leads them to abandon all hope and run for their lives. Satan gets bored with the party (it ended at midnight, how lame is that?) and decides to go cruising into town for more mayhem, but he gets driven away by a kid who’s spending the evening praying at his church.
After Satan heads for the hills, the boy and his pastor sit down to talk about why Halloween’s just an awful thing that no one should celebrate ever.
The reality of it is that Halloween’s a holiday with a very complicated past. There’s no real consensus over whether it has its origins in the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain (as suggested by Chick) or it’s an originally Christian (take that, Chick!) holiday developed as part of the celebration of the saints (All Hallows’ Day, which falls on November 1, leaving October 31 with the moniker All Hallows’ Eve). Of course, the theory of Christian origin has the holiday beginning as part of the Catholic liturgical calendar, so maybe in Chick-world it doesn’t matter because either way Halloween was created by Satan.
Of course, that’s the point of all this scaremongering. Chick wants us to fear Satanism in its myriad forms (read: anything that’s not Chick’s brand of Christianity), and that’s best done by raising the specter of cat killing cults and teenagers who engage in witchcraft.
The tract wraps up with the standard altar call that Chick always ends his tracts with, but the way he phrases it here is kind of hilarious:
If you believe Jesus died for your sins… and receive Him as your personal Saviour, you will be saved (from hell).
I love the parenthetical “from hell” that’s added to the end, just in case the reader has failed to understand exactly what’s at stake. “If you don’t accept Jesus, you’re going to hell! Accept him so you can be saved! From hell! Did I mention you should be afraid of hell? Because you should. It’s hell. Literally.”
I saw a video recently about a pastor who was having his kid stay home with him on Halloween so they could hand out tracts to trick-or-treaters (his son was pretty young, definitely still single-digits age-wise). The guy spins this as something amazing and awesome that he’s doing with his kid as a way to share the gospel. Except that, you know, he’s teaching his kid that the way to share the gospel with people is to just give them something that someone else wrote (without telling them) instead of actually getting to know these folks who come to his doorstep looking to do something celebratory as a community.
That’s all largely a tangent from the main point of this post, but I thought it bore mentioning. Have a happy Halloween, everyone.