The guy was doing some last minute shopping for some candy to hand out on Halloween. His wife had told him to do it last week, but of course he waited until the ‘day-of’ to run the errand. He was wearing an odd array of clothing, having just grabbed something to wear to go to the store. He wasn’t planning to participate in a fashion show. The clerk at the cash register was just trying to make conversation: “Do you have a mask to wear with your costume?” she said brightly. He responded gruffly, “What costume?”
People have very different ideas about Halloween. Some people think the whole thing is demonic, glorifying the dark side. Others place the emphasis on the fun of dressing up as popular characters. Neighborhoods, schools, churches, and other groups sponsor fall festivals instead. Trick-or-treating used to be more prevalent. Kids became very discriminating about the candy they sought. What was your favorite? I’m pretty sure those fat marshmallow peanuts weren’t close to the top of too many lists.
Parents try to be careful. They don’t want their kids overdosing on sugar and they want to make certain the candy is safe. That’s why they inspect the haul. Some candy needs to be culled, particularly if the parent sees something he or she likes.
It seems like every kid ought to have one store-bought costume at least once. I remember those flimsy outfits and the cheap masks. You could wear that mask for a very short time – either the thin rubber band would break or you would suffocate. You could also trip over something because you couldn’t see your feet.
Masks might be alright when you are wearing a costume, but they can be trouble in real life. Greek actors used to wear a mask to play a certain character, switching to another one for a different character or mood. That’s where we get our word for ‘hypocrite’ – play actor. Pretending to be something we’re not causes a great deal of trouble in relationships. Jesus had harsh words for hypocrisy. We might fool someone every now and then, but what have we gained?
You don’t need a mask to live a true-to-yourself life. God created you to be you. No one else can be you – even if they wear a really good costume.