I don’t know why it’s so fashionable within the church to criticize Christians who are leery of Halloween. I know a guy who was concerned about our church’s plans for a fall festival because he wanted to make sure that we weren’t implying that Halloween was somehow wrong. I’ve also seen Christian blogs “taunting” those who are not cool with Halloween.
The basic argument is that, regardless it’s origins, Halloween today is in no way pagan or evil. Maybe, just _maybe_ there’s something undesirable about all the disgusting and scary costumes, but there’s absolutely no underlying devil worship or paganism. So the argument goes.
Now I’ll grant that virtually nobody who is all dressed up – even in a scary costume – is _actually_ worshipping Satan or any such thing. But what _are_ they doing?
Could there ever be a celebration that had such roots that Christians just should not celebrate it?
What if one day Germans began a celebration on November 9 that included children “harmlessly” breaking small panes of glass? But you know, it was a fun community thing that included lots of candy. Would it be OK?
Or what if there was a fun community thing that commemorated Baal worship? Involving carving little idols and setting up little Asherah poles. Just harmless fun, right? You could even pass out small cakes and pour a little drink on the ground.
Hopefully we would agree that Christians would have no business celebrating Kristallnacht or Baal worship. Hopefully. Even if it had become so far removed from the original _practice_ that it was not actually a pogrom or idol worship, we would recognize that what it was celebrating was still evil.
I was told that “Nobody connects Halloween to Satan.” If Halloween is not at some level a celebration of evil, can someone please explain just why it is that people dress up as killers, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, vampires, and so forth? Why did so many TV channels have horror movie marathons? What is the point of a haunted house?
It’s just ridiculous to assert that Halloween is not connected to evil.
Considering all that, why did I dress my older two boys up like knights and take them through our neighborhood?
As far as my boys are concerned, Halloween is all about costumes and candy. Halloween is such a strange thing. Everyone dresses up their kids and take them around to request candy from strangers, and we give them candy. Such an odd thing. On that level, there is no significance beyond getting to dress up, and getting candy. And while a lot of people do (innocently) use horror and images of evil to mark Halloween, plenty of people don’t. There are plenty of non-scary costumes – maybe even the majority last night – and even many of the witches and ghosts and skeletons are strictly comic. So I don’t actually see any harm in it.
I do think this could be a slippery slope. I can imagine some Jewish family a few thousand years ago saying “No, we’re only going to the grove to visit with friends and neighbors and get some of those yummy cakes. _We_ aren’t going to worship Baal.” The difference is that Halloween is neither inherently evil nor primarily a commemoration of ancient pagan practices. If 70% of Halloween was scary and evil, that would be one thing. But if last night in my neighborhood is a representative sample, probably 70% of the houses and costumes were perfectly innocent. There were only two or three houses where they were actually being scary – and at one, the two year old girl running around hissing with the rubber snake really ruined the effect!
I understand the reservations many Christians have about Halloween. To some extent, I share those reservations. I don’t reach the same conclusions, but I do not think they are wrong to be concerned.