Halloween

Posted: October 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

A friend (and fellow pilgrim who is the father of 4 cute kids) writes, “how, again, do we reconcile, redeem, and reform [trick or treating], if we even should, to the glory of God?”

I commented:

What if as (Protestant) Christians we revived the idea of All Saints Day? We could take time at the end of Oct./beginning of Nov. to remember and tell stories of great heroes of the faith. Rather than a thin baptism of popular culture (ever go to a church “Hallelujah” party?) this would be a way to connect with Christian traditions that are centuries old.

Also this would allow for us to “redeem” some of the folksy parts of American Halloween. It is easy to imagine costumes as part of All Saints Day and one could recast Trick or Treating as a way of asking for and giving alms. In celebration of the feast of the saints we give generously to our neighbors. In remembrance of those sent out by Christ and told to seek provision in the towns they visit; we go out as missionaries asking others for provision.

This doesn’t directly deal with the darkness of Halloween [& I think honesty in acknowledging evil and repentance is desperately needed in our culture] but perhaps celebrating Christian “saints” could be a way to apply Rom 12:21 (Do not be overcome w/ evil but overcome evil w/ good).

A couple of additional thoughts – First, I hate Halloween and usually try hard to ignore it but realize this is harder when you are also a parent. Second, I forgot that Oct. 31st is Reformation day and a very legitimate time for Protestants to celebrate our Christian forefathers. Finally, I think as a church we really need to re-discover the Christian calendar that often lies just below the pop/commercial calendar in our country. I think it would bring dignity and meaning to our celebrations that seem to lack both.

I post this here, because I’m curious what the parents who read this blog do with (or plan to do – I’m talking to you Friar Tuck) with Halloween.

A lot more could and probably should be said about Halloween but let me just add that everytime I see an add for the 13 nights of Halloween on TV and can’t help think how that is 1 more than the 12 Days of Christmas and what a sad commentary on our society.

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Comments
  1. Friar_Tuck says:

    I think the Christian protest against Halloween is radically overdone.

    My take on it is something like what I wrote about 5 years ago:

    http://friartucksfleetingthoughts.blogspot.com/2005/10/treat-of-halloween.html

  2. Kindra says:

    I really appreciate Friar Tuck’s blog post on this. Halloween isn’t our favorite holiday (well, it’s not me & Chris’s favorite, but it’s pretty high on my kids’ list!) — we don’t really play it up too much (kind of like Santa Claus — we don’t disallow Santa, we just don’t talk him up).

    The kids love going trick or treating and I don’t feel like there’s anything inherently demonic in them dressing up as a princess of Thomas the Tank Engine and going around to houses asking for candy. Typically we try to leave the city and visit family during Halloween since, in my neighborhood, I do think that it becomes “okay” to participate in evil on Halloween. There have been several instances of bands of children running around throwing eggs at people, paintballing people, etc (and I’ve been a target). Of course I’d never let my children participate or engage in that sort of thing.

    I like your idea of All Saint’s Day. Part of my tension with many of the holidays is letting my children enjoy things that I myself enjoyed as a child (though I was not raised as a believer) and creating those memories for them. As a believer who came to the faith late, I remember thinking that some kids were “weird” for not doing certain things and rightly or wrongly, I don’t want my kids to be weird and not understanding why their church-going cousins are going trick-or-treating and they can’t…

  3. mosterca says:

    Thanks for your comments guys – you both have some really good thoughts (I knew you would). I didn’t know Halloween could be traced back to Gregory the Great (one of my favorite popes). Maybe I’ll think a little better of it.

    I also agree that Christians can make too big a deal of it – I remember the satanism scares of the 1980s but I’m torn b/c I think the world really minimizes the reality of evil. Anyway thanks again for sharing!!!

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