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Halloween, 1968, the neighbor turned off his lights

Give candy not rocks

The street was dark. There were no streetlights. The only lights were the front porch lights of the homes that were handing out candy. It was 1968. I was walking alone on Halloween. I was ten.

The man was sitting in an armchair in his living room. It was the only light on in his house. His front porch light was turned off. He wasn’t handing out candy. His back was to the street and his curtains in the front picture window were pulled back. This window was like a screen in a movie theatre. Bright and easy to see in the darkness. I stood and stared at him.

He couldn’t see me. If he looked outside he would  have only seen a reflection of himself against black.

It was hard to see the sidewalk in front of his house. I didn’t know Jesus, I only went to church at Christmas and Easter. I knew this man went to church. Why isn’t he being nice to me? Why doesn’t he want to put on his light so I can see where I am walking.  He is not nice to children. His God is not nice.

I got a rock.
― Charlie Brown

My childhood is a series of picture memories. I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast on October 31st, 1968, but I remember how I felt walking alone at night on October 31st, 1968. I didn’t want to know more about his God. The God who didn’t like children. The God who didn’t care that I couldn’t see where I was walking.

Tonight, I will turn on my front porch light. There will be candy for the children in my neighborhood. We will be generous. We have an M and M full of candy by our front door.


I have been like the man sitting in his picture window in 1968. What was the right way to celebrate? Should I hand out candy? Is the holiday bad?

In Illinois we turned out our lights and hid in the back of the house. We didn’t hand out candy. In Minnesota, we turned out our lights and watched movies in the basement. We didn’t hand out candy. Then we started to attend a Harvest party at a local church on October 31st. There was still candy, but it was at church. In California we lived on a rural road and no one came to our house. There was no one to give candy to; we went to a Harvest Party at a church in Santa Cruz. They gave our candy.

Now in  Pennsylvania, I turn on my front porch light, wear a costume and hand out candy.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19:14

I wonder what Jesus would do if He lived in my neighborhood? I think he would have a large bowl of candy and a glass of living water for each child. He would not turn out his lights and hide in the back of his house.

Will you turn on your lights? Will you give candy to children? Please tell me in the comments.

Give candy, not rocks.

Here are  recent articles on Halloween

The Hypocrisy of Halloween by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Why Christians Should Celebrate Halloween by Ken Eastburn

Satan’s Birthday: A Brief Discussion on Halloween and Christianity by Brandon Ambrosino and Brandon G. Withrow

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • I dressed up last night as a fairy for the NaNo kick off party. Where we live halloween is not celebrated, the South Africans seem not really into this.

    • The South Africans can buy their own candy. I always thought it was weird to say, “Don’t take candy from strangers,” and then go door to door to strangers and ask for candy.
      A NaNo kick off party sounds fun. How is the writing going?

      • writers are strange people. i’ll email you a picture of james and me. we dressed up for the kick off party. all my writing has been done at 30 000 feet. i kid you not! it’s not easy and i decided to just write. get the words on the screen. fact and fiction is somewhat blurred at the moment

  • We live out in the country now and no one ever comes out here. One year we lived in a town and I knew all the neighborhood children would come by. We do not celebrate Halloween but that year I turned it into “Tell the World about Jesus Day”. We had all the lights on in the house, turned on upbeat gospel music, and opened up the front windows. Then we passed out candy and Chic gospel tracts that look like little comic books. We didn’t dress up but we had a great time sharing the Good News with the neighborhood children and their parents.

    • What a fun way to have light in the neighborhood Anastacia.

  • Robn Patrick
    • Hello Robin,
      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful reply.
      I also don’t “like” the holiday. Please keep your skulls and skeletons in your closet, I would rather not look at them.
      My extend of celebration, is to give out candy and be kind.

  • La McCoy

    Ohhohh Pooh now i feel Guilty.
    Edel and I plan to hide in the back of the house. I start getting ready for bed at 530. ugh. I have candy just not going to stay up.
    Hi Maggie. And who’s black rear is that?
    Ok I better shower and hand out candy from 5-530. You animals win. the guilt worked. Sigh. lmc and Edel.

  • Good post. But sometimes people may have other reasons for not giving out candy. Some don’t have extra money. Others are unable to keep getting up for each little ghost, or princess. It doesn’t mean they don’t like children.

    • You are right Anne, there are more reasons why people don’t give out candy. When I was ten, I didn’t think of any other reasons why.

      • Our perspectives were so different then. And yet, sometimes I still see things as I saw them younger. We grow up physically within a certain number of years, but growing up inside takes our lifetime, and even then I know we’ll slip into glory still being a kid in some areas. Or at least I can speak for myself.

    • La McCoy

      Thank you Anne.

  • I grew up in Houston, Texas. I don’t recall the exact year (I’m 54), but a man used Halloween as a time to kill his child and collect on the insurance money. He accused a neighbor of giving the kid the candy.

    The one thing that misfired on the man’s scheme is that the neighbor was out of town. After that churches starting having parties. People stopped giving out candy. Perhaps you didn’t hear about it since you grew up in Canada? Perhaps you are too young to know about this story.

    People were afraid to give out candy. If people are older and remember that, it may taint their idea of giving out candy.

    Here’s someone who gives the details: http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/7420-man-who-killed-his-son-and-halloween/

    • Hello Eva,
      Thank you for telling me this story. I had never heard of it before. I will read the link you shared. Very sad story.
      When we went trick or treating we were not allowed to eat ANYTHING until we got home. And no candied popcorn balls, they were thrown away. And if there was a hole in the wrapper, we had to throw the candy away. She said people may put bad stuff in the candy. She must have read the story you mentioned.
      I just turned the speed limit, 55, we are close in age.

      • Christa Sterken

        we had that candy rule too. I love that you celebrate the joy and fun with the kids

    • La McCoy

      Oh dear Eva!

  • Elsie

    If they come, they will get candy at my house. I hope they come and take it all away so I won’t eat it. 🙂

    • Haha, yes, my husband wishes the same thing. Fortunately for me if I eat candy I get really sick.
      Will they get strawberries too?

  • Thanks for the link love. Appreciate it. Thought-provoking post. I’ve wondered how people perceive neighbors they know are Christians and refuse to participate in Halloween. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Hello Lisa,
      You are very welcome. Your story helped me want to tell mine.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for your article… yes, our home will be handing out treats — full size cans of pop/soda. I want to be that house on the block and in the neighborhood that kids want to come to… I am super excited about being able to bless these children. 🙂

    • Hello Jennifer,
      Oh, I want to come to your house! They children who come will be blessed!