Happy Halloween 2012!

Jasper got bored waiting for the kids to show up.

It took some time to get underway this year — it was an hour and 20 minutes after the scheduled start time before we saw the first couple of kids — but it was a pretty decent Halloween in the end. The weather was cold and damp, but not rainy and there were plenty of trick and treaters dropping by to collect their empty calories.

We pulled double duty this year as one of the neighbors came up to ask if we’d had out her candy as well because she had to to go work and her husband wouldn’t be home in time to do the honors. She had the same problem last year and had just set the bowl out on the honor system only to have the first couple of kids who showed up clean it out completely. We said we’d be happy to do so and she dropped by with a bowl full of suckers a short while later.

This proved to be more problematic than I first thought as several kids didn’t pick up on my invitation to take a couple of items from each bowl and thought that they could only choose from one bowl or take just one thing from each bowl. As a result, we both have left over candy again even though we bought less than last year. Good thing it’s stuff I like to eat.

Here’s hoping your Halloween was as festive and fun as ours was! I enjoyed it so much that I think I’ll do it again next year.

Annual “Halloween is evil” message comes with a new homosexual twist!

Boo!If it’s October then it must be time for the annual “Satan loves Halloween” message from overly credulous Evangelicals. This year’s warning comes from Linda Harvey of Mission America as posted on the WingNut Daily website.

Not only does she engage in the usual demons-will-get-you nonsense, but she manages to one-up previous year’s warning by linking it to homosexuality:

2. Halloween is now the second-most popular American celebration right behind Christmas. Why the growing magnetism of Halloween? Spiritual deception on a grand scale, using every enticing trick in the book, may be at work. And such trends call for heightened Christian discernment.

This event has become a huge annual celebration in the “LGBT” world, especially for the transgender/ gender-confused folks. Their affinity illustrates some of the problem: The core of Halloween is glittering artificiality. You can be pretend to be someone you aren’t for a night, you can flirt with danger, you can divine a different destiny – but it’s all void of the love or will of God. This “seduction unto death” is enticing: Don’t be afraid, do what you want, there’s nothing to fear. It’s one of Satan’s oldest tricks. Costume parties can be fun, but these costumes dare to disguise even our very souls.

via 10 reasons to fast from Halloween.

Icky gay people like it so you know it’s icky!

Though it’s not just the gays that get the guilt-by-association treatment here. Reason #1 on the list makes sure that witches aren’t forgotten:

1. Let’s be honest about the spiritual force at the center of Halloween. The modern celebration retains its decidedly occult origin. Some say the “All Hallows Eve” designation on some church calendars marks it as a Christian holiday, but an eighth-century accommodation to local pagan traditions for appeasing evil spirits is very thin gruel, Gospel-wise.

Halloween remains the highest sacred day of the year for modern witches and pagans, called “Samhain” (pronounced, “sow-een”). Some rationalize that Halloween transforms ghouls and goblins into light-hearted fun, but is Halloween’s makeover into a big joke a biblical approach? While Christians need not cringe in fear of the demonic realm, nor be overly preoccupied, neither are we to mock and scoff, cavalierly entering Satan’s territory while dismissing the danger. We are especially not to encourage our children in such recklessness.

Keep in mind that this woman, and many other Evangelical Christians like her, literally believes that demons are real and are lurking in the shadows in anticipation of your kid playing with an Ouija board so they can swallow their souls. She must lead a very stressful life worrying about nonsense like that all the time.

That said, she and her like-minded brethren are free to keep their kids safely at home on Halloween if they really want to. It’s not like anyone has ended up psychologically scarred for not having been allowed to trick or treat as a kid. All they’re missing out on is a bit of harmless fun. It just means more candy for the rest of us.

Happy Halloween from SEB.

It’s the time of the year again! Here’s hoping your goody bags are stuffed full and you have a frighteningly good time!

To help you get in the mood, here’s a video from YouTuber KJ92508’s 2011 Halloween Light show. He did a great job last year and it appears they’ve added to it this year:

This year’s video has gone viral. No surprise considering how well it’s done. Here’s some stats on what it took to make this happen:

4 singing pumpkin faces, tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods and thousands of lights. Most all lights have been changed from incandescent to RGB LED so power consumption is a lot less than previous years. Also DMX added to show. All lights, faces and props are custom made (DIY) by me except for the roof line which are CCRs. Controlling channels have gone up 8X from last year. 1144 channels. Riverside, CA

After the jump you’ll find a second video from this year featuring the song Party Rock Anthem. Not a Halloween song, but still damned impressive. He must have some VERY tolerant neighbors.

Continue reading

Jesus Ween – Once again some Christians try to take the fun out of something popular.

Don't you want to be a Weener too?

I’ve ranted before on how there always seems to be a group of Christians out there who feel the best way to recruit new believers is by trying to co-opt something popular and slapping Jesus all over it. There’s the Christian Wrestling Federation and the Fight 4 Christ Mixed Martial Arts leagues,  various video games (Halo, World of Warcraft, etc.) have been adopted for Christian outreach efforts or recreated to be Christian like Guitar Praise (Christian Guitar Hero), Heavy Metal and Rock and Roll music, and so on.

Of course their biggest successes in this regard are Christmas, formally known as Yuletide or any of a number of other pagan solstice celebrations, and Easter, co-opted for similar reasons. And now they’re after Halloween, considered by many Christians to be a reprehensible and evil holiday. So what do you get when you Christianize Halloween?

You get Jesus Ween!

JesusWeen is a God-given vision which was born as an answer to the cry of many every October 31st. The dictionary meaning of Ween is to expect, believe or think. We therefore see October 31st as a day to expect a gift of salvation and re-think receiving Jesus.

Every year, the world and its system have a day set aside (October 31st) to celebrate ungodly images and evil characters while Christians all over the world participate, hide or just stay quiet on Halloween day. Being a day that is widely acceptable to solicit and knock on doors, God inspired us to encourage Christians to use this day as an opportunity to spread the gospel. The days of hiding are over and we choose to take a stand for Jesus. “Evil prevails when good people do nothing”. JesusWeen is expected to become the most effective Christian outreach day ever and that is why we also call it” World Evangelism Day”.

And to think we used to be annoyed by that one neighbor who handed out Chick Tracts instead of candy.

Here’s the thing that cracks me up about this whole effort: Halloween is already the result of a previous attempt by Christians to usurp the Celtic festival of Samhain by replacing it with All Saints’ Day (both on November 1st), a day to celebrate saints and martyrs established by Pope Gregory III. The evening before was labeled All Hallow’s Eve which eventually got shortened to Halloween.

The holiday here in America took quite awhile to catch on. In the early colonial period of New England it wasn’t particularly popular due to it being mostly a Catholic invention and the colonials being largely Protestant. It didn’t go nation-wide until the second half of the 19th century with the huge influx of immigrants from Europe, especially the Irish, spreading the tradition. The early 20th century is roughly when it morphed into the mostly secular holiday we know it as today and the baby boom of the 1950’s is when the modern traditions really solidified, but all throughout it’s history here it has changed with some traditions (e.g. trick or treating) falling out of favor only to make a comeback later.

Halloween is the one Christian holiday that got away from them and took on a life of its own. Which, of course, doesn’t sit well with a some folks who should really get over it. The thing they should be asking themselves is if this is a battle really worth fighting?

Halloween as it exists today in America is really pretty tame. None of the kids dressed up as witches or demons or ghosts are doing so because they think these caricatures are something to emulate. It’s a night to dress up and get free candy for no other reason than you took the time to get made up and yell out a catchphrase. Dressing up as a demon is not going to turn your kids into Satan worshipers any more than playing Cops and Robbers will make your kids into mass-murdering bank robbers. (I don’t know about you guys, but the car-chase shoot-outs we imagined as we fled the bank would’ve left a helluva lot of collateral damage in its wake.) You could argue that with the childhood obesity rates these days there is real harm in giving kids a shitload of candy to eat, but spiritually there’s not much about the holiday that’ll put their souls at risk.

But hey, if you really have a problem with the holiday then don’t participate. There’s two more major Christian holidays that haven’t been totally secularized yet that you can look forward to. Both of which are arguably a more suitable platform for evangelizing from if you really feel you must do so. Ask yourselves: Do you really think that a kid who’s expecting to get a couple pieces of candy from you is really going to be all that excited when you drop a Bible in his sack? What about the parents that aren’t Christian and really don’t want you evangelizing to their kids? Do you think this will make you more or less popular with your neighbors? Do you enjoy having massive amounts of toilet paper hanging from the trees in your yard?

And, lastly, do you really think “Jesus Ween” was a good branding choice?

A belated Happy Halloween 2010!

A pic of the kitten called Cuddles.

It took forever to get him to look in the webcam. Click to embiggen!

Meant to post this yesterday, but got so caught up in other things that I never got around to it. I was really excited as I expected a lot of kids to show up at the door because the apartment complex we’re in is under a new management that had actually taken the time to schedule community events this year. I figured with it being somewhat organized we’d see a higher turn out and so I bought three bags of candy, but my excitement soon faded as after an initial rush of maybe 16 or so kids the remaining half-hour trickled by without so much as a ghoul in sight. Which means I’ve still got 90% of the candy we bought despite letting each kid grab a big handful. Well, we encouraged them to grab a big handful, but a few of them didn’t seem to understand and walked off with only a couple of pieces. Afterward, I sat on my recliner and watched old horror movies on cable until AMC’s The Walking Dead came on then we watched that and I went to bed so I could be awake this morning for work. All in all it was a nice Halloween if a bit disappointing in the number of kids who A) actually came by and B) actually had a costume on.

I’ve also been meaning to mention that we have a new member of the Jenkins family in the form of kitten by the name of Cuddles, whom you can see over on the left. Whereas Melvin is the epitome of the Stupid Evil Bastard mindset — which is why he’s the Official SEB Cat — Cuddles is the antithesis of it. He’s an orange tabby American Domestic short hair and he’s one hyper-kinetic ball of lovin’. This is a cat not afraid to walk on your face at 5AM while purring so loud as to rattle the windows because he’s decided it’s time he needs some hardcore ear scratching. Whereas Melvin will only step in your lap long enough to cross from one arm of the chair to the other, Cuddles will curl up right in the middle of it and snore like a chainsaw hard at work. This is a happy, friendly, lap-warming bit of cute overload who will climb up your pant leg to sit on your shoulder just to say hello.

Many of you may remember we tried to add a second cat named Beanie awhile back that didn’t go over so well with Melvin. She was an adult female cat of a similar age to Melvin and after seven months of getting the shit beat out of her by Melvin we ended up giving her to a cat foster home so she could be placed in a better environment. (She’s been doing quite while ever since.) So you may be wondering how things are going with Cuddles and Melvin.

I’m happy to report that after just a week they’re getting along just fine and Melvin is even occasionally playing with the new kitten. Initially Melvin was his usual grumpy self and hissed and growled at the kitten, but, unlike Beanie who was absolutely terrified by Melvin’s antics, Cuddles would back off long enough to let Melvin settle down and then would get right back into his face again. He also makes this cooing sound when interacting with Melvin which I have come to understand is kitten-speak for I’M JUST A LITTLE KITTEN WHO HAS NO INTENTION OF BEING ALPHA CAT. PLEASE DON’T KILL ME! It seems to work as the worst Melvin acts now is like an older brother who has gotten an annoying baby brother after years of being an only child.

So we’re back to being a two-cat family and this time it looks like it’ll work out just fine. Anne is happy because we now have a kitten that will curl up on your lap and let you pet it for hours on end. Plus it worked out well for Halloween as we had an orange and a black cat sitting in the window as the kids came up to get their candy.

In honor of Halloween here’s a bit of science about blood.

If you have any basic biology under your belt then you know that it’s the hemoglobin in your blood that carries oxygen to where it’s needed and which removes the carbon dioxide, but have you ever wondered how it does that?

The folks at The Periodic Table of Videos have the answer. Plus an old chemist lecture prank:

“This is Halloween” neighborhood light show.

Over years past I’ve posted video clips of houses decked out in Christmas lights set to music which has become an increasingly popular trend. I should’ve figured someone would apply it to Halloween as well.

This is from last year which means this has been happening for awhile and I’m only just now noticing it:

Man I wish I had the creativity and skill to do something like that.

That and a house to do it with.

Updated: My brother-in-law sent me the link to their 2010 show featuring Michael Jackson’s Thriller:

Who says you need a scary costume on Halloween?

I mean, would you take candy from a guy who looks like this:


Click to embiggen!

That’s what greeted the half dozen or so groups of kids that stopped by my backdoor this evening. All told I think we saw maybe 13 or 16 kids so they all got to grab big handfuls of candy before scampering off into the darkness once more. It took awhile to get underway as we didn’t see anyone for the first hour and a half, but once it got dark it picked up steam.

We’ve still got a crap load of candy left though.

Happy Halloween from all of us here at SEB.

We’ve got lots of candy to hand out tonight, probably more than we need, and I’ve got a emo plastic pumpkin that lights up and a fog machine that I’ll be setting up on the back porch. No costume for me again this year and I’ll be handing out candy solo as Anne is working tonight and Courtney is up in Grand Rapids. Which really makes it kinda spooky for me in an odd I’m-all-by-myself sort of way. Well, I’ll have the Official SEB Black Cat, Melvin, with me to add yet another layer of appropriate atmosphere, but he isn’t much of a conversationalist.

Or at least he shouldn’t be.

One of these years I’ll own a home where I’ll be able to go all out on the spooky decorations and really do things the way I’ve always dreamed of doing them, but for now I’ll have to settle for what I have. Still, it’ll be fun to see the kids as we actually get a few of them through here unlike just about every other apartment complex I’ve ever lived in. How about you guys? Doing anything for Halloween? Got any cool decorations out in the yard?

Kimberly Daniels warns us of “The Danger in Celebrating Halloween.”

Update: The original entry on CBN.com has been yanked after just about everyone on the Internet noticed it and started linking to it. So I’ve updated the link to point to the article’s home on the Charisma magazine website.

Nope, this isn’t another article in the yearly tradition of warning you about checking your Halloween candy before eating it or wearing costumes that restrict your vision. This one comes from the founder of Kimberly Daniels Ministries International and was published on CBN.com Charisma Magazine and it starts off with a question:

Halloween—October 31—is considered a holiday in the United States. In fact, it rivals Christmas with regard to how widely celebrated it is. Stores that sell only Halloween-related paraphernalia open up a few months before the day and close shortly after it ends. But is Halloween a holiday that Christians should be observing?

Almost any time an article starts off like that you can pretty much bet the bank the answer is going to be a resounding “No.” Chances are the person writing it is a religious nutcase who is out to rain on someone’s parade and Mrs. Daniels doesn’t disappoint:

The word “holiday” means “holy day.” But there is nothing holy about Halloween. The root word of Halloween is “hallow,” which means “holy, consecrated and set apart for service.” If this holiday is hallowed, whose service is it set apart for? The answer to that question is very easy—Lucifer’s!

The first couple of sentences start off OK, but then she dives off the deep end with the last sentence in the paragraph. Halloween grew out of old pagan rituals and has nothing to do with Lucifer outside of the minds of crazy Christian fundamentalists. But I’m sure that little fact won’t stop this lady from going on to weave a story full of bullshit.

Lucifer is a part of the demonic godhead. Remember, everything God has, the devil has a counterfeit. Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of : the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the Antichrist Spirit (the false holy spirit); and the Spirit of Belial (the false son).

Did you know Lucifer has his own Trinity? That’s news to me and I’ve read the Bible several times over. But maybe I missed that part so let’s skip ahead a little and see if we can’t get to what the real dangers of celebrating Halloween are:

The key word in discussing Halloween is “dedicated.” It is dedicated to darkness and is an accursed season. During Halloween, time-released curses are always loosed. A time-released curse is a period that has been set aside to release demonic activity and to ensnare souls in great measure.

[…] During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.

Hoo boy, we’re into some Grade A Crazy now!

Really? Witches? You’re going to seriously suggest that the candy being sold at this time has been prayed over by witches transforming it into some sort of Tylenol delayed-release of evil?

I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference.

Yep, she’s seriously going to suggest just that. So there’s one of the great dangers of celebrating Halloween. If you eat any candy that’s been prayed over by witches you’ll be possessed by demons too dumb to tell the difference between candy you begged for and candy you bought for yourself at the store.

But she’s not done with the crazy just yet. She’s got lots of it and she’s handing it out in lieu of treats this year:

Even the colors of Halloween (orange, brown and dark red) are dedicated. These colors are connected to the fall equinox, which is around the 20th or 21st of September each year and is sometimes called “Mabon.” During this season witches are celebrating the changing of the seasons from summer to fall. They give praise to the gods for the demonic harvest. They pray to the gods of the elements (air, fire, water and earth).

Well at least she got the name right, though Mabon is celebrated by neo-pagans and has nothing to do with the Christian concepts of Lucifer or demons or a “demonic harvest.” The name for the Autumnal Equinox was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 and is a reference to Mabon ap Modron who is the Welsh personification of youth. Ironically if you do your research you’ll learn that in Celtic lore Mabon ap Modron has more to do with rebirth, the start of Summer, than the Autumn harvest, but when you’re making up your own religion based off old pagan ideas no one ever said you couldn’t move things around a bit. After all it’s not like the Christians didn’t move Jesus’ birth to the other end of the year so they could usurp a major pagan holiday.

Continuing…

Mother earth is highly celebrated during the fall demonic harvest. Witches praise mother earth by bringing her fruits, nuts and herbs. Demons are loosed during these acts of worship. When nice church folk lay out their pumpkins on the church lawn, fill their baskets with nuts and herbs, and fire up their bonfires, the demons get busy. They have no respect for the church grounds. They respect only the sacrifice and do not care if it comes from believers or non-believers.

Gathering around bonfires is a common practice in pagan worship. As I remember, the bonfires that I attended during homecoming week when I was in high school were always in the fall. I am amazed at how we ignorantly participate in pagan, occult rituals.

Apparently if you worship Mother Earth with fruits, nuts, and herbs you unleash demons. This is yet another amazing bit of nonsense she pulled out of her ass. The second paragraph makes me wonder if she participates in any of the common Christmas traditions of decorating a Christmas tree or kissing under mistletoe or exchanging gifts as those are all pagan rituals from Yuletide on which Christmas is based. Considering how much bullshit she spreads around to paint Wiccans and Neo-pagans as devil worshipers I can only imagine she has just as much bullshit to justify the pagan-based rituals she does partake in.

The gods of harvest that the witches worship during their fall festivals are the Corn King and the Harvest Lord. The devil is too stupid to understand that Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest 365 days a year. But we cannot be ignorant of the devices of the enemy. When we pray, we bind the powers of the strong men that people involved in the occult worship.

It’s clear now, with her citation of the Corn King and the Harvest Lord, that Mrs. Daniels is engaging in the age old Christian tradition of painting the Pagans as being Satanists, which just isn’t true in the slightest. I’m sure Mrs. Daniels would be more than offended if a pagan were to portray her religion as a sick zombie worshiping death-cult (which, depending on how you look at it, is a fair description) yet she has no problems portraying the pagans as evil people intent on unleashing demonic forces on unwitting Christians. Hypocrisy is not a value I remember Jesus endorsing.

In case you don’t think she’s really portraying pagans as evil all we have to do to see this is true is to continue reading:

Halloween is much more than a holiday filled with fun and tricks or treats. It is a time for the gathering of evil that masquerades behind the fictitious characters of Dracula, werewolves, mummies and witches on brooms. The truth is that these demons that have been presented as scary cartoons actually exist. I have prayed for witches who are addicted to drinking blood and howling at the moon.

Got that? She’s prayed with real, live witches that were addicted to drinking blood and howling at the moon. How can you not take her seriously?

Incidentally, it’s interesting to read what the neo-pagans have to say about the Corn King and the Harvest Lord:

Yet another kingly God from Wiccan traditions is the Corn King, who grows during the hot summer months only to give himself up for the good of others when harvest comes. The death of the Corn King is a powerful image of sacrifice—of one who lays down his life for the welfare of those he loves. Many vegetation Gods play this sacrificial role, one well-known example being Dumuzi, the Sumerian consort of the Goddess Inanna. In most mythic stories, the sacrificial God dies and is reborn at the beginning of the next season. Of course, the theme of the dying-and-reviving God found it’s most enduring form in the mythic story of the death and resurrection of the Christian God, Jesus of Nazareth.

[…] HARVEST LORD is an ancient symbol of the Slain God, the willing sacrifice, the sacred king, and sacred seed. He is the Green Man seen as the cycle of Nature in the plant kingdom. The Harvest Lord is cut down and his seeds planted into the earth so that life may continue and be ever more abundant. This mythos is symbolic of the planted seed nourished beneath the soil and the ascending sprout that becomes the harvested plant by the time of the next Autumnal Equinox.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that both of these pagan myths sound remarkably like the Christian story of Jesus. If you’ve studied ancient religions to any degree you will be more than aware that the idea of a God sacrificing himself for the sake of his creation—sometimes in human form and sometimes not—is a recurring idea that predates Christianity. There’s a lot of such myths out there and the Christian version is hardly novel.

The point being that there’s clearly nothing evil or demonic about the pagan myths. That, in fact, they express some of the same ideas that the Christian myth does. Mrs. Daniel’s attempts to twist them into something evil and demonic not only does a disservice to a harmless holiday, but is an act she would never tolerate against her own beliefs.

But she won’t let that fact get in the way with cranking the crazy knob all the way up to 11:

The word “occult” means “secret.” The danger of Halloween is not in the scary things we see but in the secret, wicked, cruel activities that go on behind the scenes. These activities include:

  • Sex with demons
  • Orgies between animals and humans
  • Animal and human sacrifices
  • Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood
  • Rape and molestation of adults, children and babies
  • Revel nights
  • Conjuring of demons and casting of spells
  • Release of “time-released” curses against the innocent and the ignorant.

Another abomination that goes on behind the scenes of Halloween is necromancy, or communication with the dead. Séances and contacting spirit guides are very popular on Halloween, so there is a lot of darkness lurking in the air.

Sex with demons? Orgies with humans and animals? More Tylenol-like time-release curses? Man, apparently I’ve been getting invited to all the boring Halloween parties!

It should come as no surprise that Mrs. Daniels offers absolutely nothing in the way of evidence to back up any of those claims. It’s just more bullshit she made up to paint the holiday and pagans in a bad light. I’d love for her or one of her followers to show me anything that remotely supports the claims she’s making here. They can’t because it doesn’t happen.

The rest of her column is the standard Bible quotes and calls for people to repent that usually closes out such idiocy. There’s a certain irony, from an atheist standpoint, of watching one delusional person attack the delusions of a different group and try to paint them as evil.

The real evil here is being committed by Mrs. Daniels who sees nothing wrong with spreading lies and demonizing another religion’s beliefs to score points with her fellow believers. If she really believes the nonsense she’s spewing then she’s arguably crazy. If she doesn’t then she’s classically wicked. Sadly, she’s hardly alone in her approach.