My son got an interesting little booklet in his pumpkin bucket while out trick or treating last night. It's a colorful story about Peter, who plants a pumpkin seed, takes care of it, and then...
Peter held the pumpkin tight,
Sliced the top off with a knife.
Peter reached into the goop,
Pulled out slimy pumpkin soup.
Peter carved a smiling face,
Set a candle right in place.
Peter's pumpkin shone with light,
Chased away the gloomy night.
You are like a pumpkin, too!
Jesus picks you, washes you;
Takes away the slime of sin,
Lets his light of love shine in.
There's a sticker from a local church in the front, and a letter to parents and teachers in the back, urging them to "turn the most familiar symbol of the holiday - the jack-o'-lantern - into a symbol of faith!"
I'm not offended by this offering, but I do find it strange. I know that there are fundamentalist Christians out there who think that Halloween and its trimmings are satanic and ought to be shunned. Apparently (and happily), our neighbors aren't so extreme, but Shine, Smiling Pumpkin's attempt to appropiate a Halloween symbol is a bit irritating and quite unintentially funny, especially when Jesus pops up on the last page of the book to wash the pumpkin-like "slime of sin" from Peter. The company's "Faith Pops" and "Scripture Smarties" are just bizarre. I think I'll stick with a Snickers sans scripture.