Halloween: Too Harrowing to Handle?
Though they are traditionally more conservative on many issues, particularly those surrounding good and evil, and how we should engage with or avoid ‘the world’ and its wiles, I was amazed to discover, when first I got to know some Americans, that, in general, they don’t bat an eyelid when it comes to celebrating Halloween, and will dress up, go trick-or-treating and carve pumpkins with the best of them.
We Brits, on the other hand, tend to fear the festival, and can’t decide whether to lock the doors and hide from it, or hold ‘Hallelujah Parties’ so the kids can still get their sugar fix but without having to celebrate evil in the process.
I sound more snide than I mean to be. I think any occasion which encourages the church to throw open its doors, invite the neighbours in and celebrate God’s goodness with them can only be a good thing. I’m just trying to point up the anomalies.
Many of my Christian friends in America were genuinely surprised when I first told them Christians don’t celebrate Halloween in the UK. It had simply never crossed their minds that they were partaking in the glorification of evil. It was just good, clean fun to them. Some, once they thought it through, decided they too would stop. Others, equally thoughtful, decided to continue.
So is it an evil we should stand on street corners and rail against? An ancient feast day whose meaning everyone has forgotten so we can turn a blind eye to it? The eve of the celebration of the light that has conquered all darkness once and for all?
I’m not sure I have any answers. But I have some resources that you may find helpful in helping you think through the issues and work out where you stand.
First, there’s this article, written by Matthew Hosier for the Evangelical Alliance earlier this year. Then there’s this one, written by J John and posted recently on God and Politics. And last, but by no means least, there this video from Glen Scrivener.
I know we featured that in our ‘Best of the Rest’ recently, but it gives me chills every time. One thing I have noticed when thinking/reading/talking about Halloween is that I come away focussing on the event, and the problems, and the worry. When I watch this video, I come away with my eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with praise, which I think is probably better all round, don’t you?