Behind the Mask

Halloween is a funny time of year, especially in a country that hardly celebrates it. The stores are full of the usual crap decorations and enormous bags of sweets. There just isn't the right amount of effort or thought behind what you can buy here as opposed to the USA. There are 'trick or treaters', but they seem to fall into two categories - very small children, and far too old to be doing this teenagers. I can't being myself to comment on the outfit choices by the older kids, just shocking. I hope this country embraces the holiday more as time goes on. Having said that, not much has really changed in my eyes over the last twenty plus years so I'm not sure it will. Right now it's about making/spending money and less about family and fun. In my opinion, organized parties and events are the way forward, at least until the children of today are grown up and not afraid of future kids knocking at their door.

My family were fortunate to be invited along to a Trunk Or Treat event and we had a great time. I would say the majority of people in attendance were US military families but there were definitely English friends and family also. The effort families went to in order to decorate the boot (trunk) of their car was exceptional, the variety of jack-o'-lantern designs were amazing. I have taken note and will borrow some ideas for next year! All the children were in costume, some better than others with the youngest coming out on top. I don't know why the older kids lose the imagination or excitement of dressing up, or choosing what is deemed sexy when it comes to the females. The last time I dressed up for Halloween I wore a skirt and was supposed to be a Scottish man. There is a reason that was my last time.

My kids haven't been exposed to Halloween as much as I'd maybe have liked, but there is time and also a chance to explain the virtues of a good spirited holiday over a gory celebration of evil. We carved pumpkins together and embraced the fun family activities that come with Halloween. I never ever thought of it has being tied to evil, and my brief research tells me that the origins were indeed Christian and to expel or ridicule any evil spirits. If we are to believe Halloween allows evil a place in this world, we must also believe that movies, games, TV and the like are even more responsible. I believe if you raise your children right, with love and knowledge then evil has no place in Halloween. Don't allow evil into your lives through fear or misguided ideas from others.

My brother and I donned masks for the two hours and though hesitant at first people soon warmed to us and made off with all of our sweets (candy). The atmosphere was great, the kids remained excited throughout even during a short spell of rain. The adults all said hellos and some beers were shared too. I think there should be more of these, even though when explaining it some drew comparisons to dogging, I wonder how they know so much about that? Flash once for.....never mind.

I had an idea as I gauged the different reactions to our masks by the children and adults alike. Mostly the kids were fine, obviously these were smart and confident kids acutely aware that monsters and ghouls aren't real. The adults needed some time to feel more comfortable, I put this down to the fact they know there are indeed monsters in this world but disguised as men. This gave me an idea for the blog, let's see if you get it.......

One of these men has been influenced by evil thoughts. One of these men chooses to live righteously.
One of these men has hurt the people that love him the most. One of these men will always be there for the people that love him.
One of these men has abused most of his relationships and friendships. One of these men learned the meaning of  trust, affection and intimacy.
One of these men has cheated and deceived. One of these men stands up for what is right.
One of these men is a liar. One of these men is brutally honest.
One of these men is selfish and a coward. One of these men would do anything to help even at a cost to himself.
One of these men self-medicates with drugs and alcohol. One of these men has a chemical imbalance he treats with a prescription.
One of these men suffers from self-pity and low self-esteem. One of these men has had the strength to pull through and excel in all areas of his life.
One of these men has wanted to harm himself and others. One of these men will do anything to protect others.
One of these men is adept at manipulation. One of these men uses therapy to break bad habits and better understand himself.
One of these men marks his skin to remind him of the pain. One of these men marks his skin to remind him of the love.
One of these men seeks comfort in darkness. One of these men stands out in the light.
One of these men wallows in solitude and despair. One of these men relishes in being around those he loves.
One of these men had his childhood stolen from him. One of these men is ensuring his children never suffer or miss out on what they deserve.
One of these men grew up in a broken family of divorce and abuse. One of these men is being the best Husband and Father he can be.
One of these men has had a haunted and unforgiving past. One of these men has his best years ahead of him.

One of these men WAS me. One of these men IS me.

The other man in the mask is my brother. A Brother, Husband, Father, Warrior with his own story to tell.

Everyone lives with their own demons, their regrets. Everyone has the power to forgive, themselves and others. Above all everyone has the ability to change. You are never alone, you are loved and have support. Don't give up on yourself or those that believe in you. Peace.