A lady had been recently baptized. One of her co-workers asked her what is was like to be a Christian. She was caught off guard and didn’t know how to answer, but then she looked up and saw a jack-o-lantern on the desk and answered, “its like being a pumpkin”
Her co-worker asked her to explain that one.
“Well, God plucks you from the patch and brings you in and washes all the dirt you got from being around all the other pumpkins. He cuts off the top and takes all the yucky stuff from inside. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts a light inside you for all to see.”
“It’s our choice to either stay outside on the vine or come inside to be something new and bright.”
I may never look at a pumpkin the same way again!
(After running across much anti-Halloween bias on the net, in the media and, sometimes even in my own community, I felt compelled to throw in my two cents)
Is it wrong for Christians to celebrate Halloween??
With a few caveats, no, I don’t think is wrong for Christians to celebrate and enjoy themselves on Halloween. I don’t myself however, condone the glorification of violence or Satanism. Nor do I enjoy seeing kids dress up as gory violent characters. I prefer an “old fashioned Halloween with the traditional “monsters”, not serial killers. See related topics in My Haunt Philosophy , the Why save Halloween? and History of Halloween links.
(For the record, these are simply my own musings on this issue. I can’t tell you what is right and wrong. I am a Christian, have been all my life. Not perfect but endeavoring to continue to be the best Christian I can be in this life. I go to Church every Sunday and my wife and I are trying to raise our children to be good Christians. I consider myself for the most part to be pretty conservative on many issues. There is no one on the either the far right or left of this issue that can carry on any intelligent dialogue because they already have their minds made up anyhow and are much too stubborn to admit they might be wrong. (And yes I could be wrong. If I am then I suppose I’ll get what’s coming to me after I die). People must use their own judgment and make up their own hearts and minds. There are far too many people in society today that let the Media and their Government and Religious leaders decide for them how they feel on issues. God forbid that they would do any real research, soul searching, praying, or actual thinking on an issue. Lets all just regurgitate what the media says and believe its all true! NOT!)
The more involved I’ve become in Halloween and running my own Haunted House, I’ve increasingly found that Halloween as we know it is under attack. (Even as the commercial and retail aspects of the holiday seem to be growing by leaps and bounds every year) The Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians would have us abolish all Halloween parties, trick-or-treating, haunted houses and anything that even resembles Halloween. The Halloween that even they themselves most likely enjoyed as children. They’d much rather have “Harvest Celebrations” and have everyone dress up as bible characters. Some churches have even used Halloween to set up “Hell Houses” as an alternative to the traditional Haunted House, which violently and graphically depict scenes showing abortions, drunk driving, drug use, suicide and then the devil in the grand finale to show them the final reward for such sins. (I guess it’s supposed to scare people out of being sinful.) And don’t think about making their children go to a Halloween party at school. Funny how they use religion and separation of church and state as an excuse to abolish school Halloween parties, claiming that Halloween is a religious, (or anti-religious) holiday, then they want to join church and state to institute formal prayer in schools. To them Halloween is bad, sinful, demonic and anyone who celebrates Halloween is an unwitting dupe of Satan. For some reason I just cant stand this “Satan is under every rock” kind of mentality. Does Satan exist? Absolutely. The Bible says so. Also logically if you say you believe in GOD then you have to believe in a devil. Night/day good/evil God/Satan, everything has an opposite. (I don’t believe though that Satan is Gods equal and direct opposite, Satan will never be equal to God and Christ.) It’s my belief that the Fundamentalist Evangelicals are giving Satan more credit than he is due. It’s my opinion that ultimately God is far more powerful than Satan is and God will always win in the end. I think that we Christians should take somewhat of a mocking tone toward Satan around Halloween. Poke a little fun at the devil and death. I think that is what Halloween is really about. The greatest crisis a human being can face is his/her own demise and what happens or where they will go afterward. Halloween is an important outlet for society. On Halloween you get a chance to do and be things that are different from our normal everyday selves. Halloween gives us a chance once a year to at least pretend to look death in the face, confront and maybe even overcome some of our fears. Is Satan using Halloween to trick children and adults to take his side? I don’t think so. I rather think that Satan is subtler than that. (Take some time to read The Screwtape Letters by the Christian author CS Lewis. You’ll see what I mean.) I’ve never read any of JK Rowlings Harry Potter books (did see the movie though) but I hardly think that we are going to raise a whole society of witches and devil worshipers because kids are enjoying some fantasy books they read. The Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians spend an awful lot of energy telling us how evil the whole Harry Potter thing is. How many folks who ever watched The Wizard of OZ ended up being a witch or devil worshiper?? (Hey you never know, it had witches and magic in it!) If we had more kids reading books maybe we’d have fewer kids on drugs, in trouble with the law and pregnant. Harry Potter, the Wizard of OZ and also Halloween are fantasy, and make believe with the basic theme that good always wins out over evil. Sometimes I wonder if part of Satan’s plan is to use the Fundamentalist Evangelicals to pit Christians against each other. If they spend enough time arguing and making each other mad then when will they have any time to do any real good in the world? Think about it!
The Fundamentalist Evangelicals will tell us..........
1. That Satanists claim Halloween as their highest holiday.
So, should we give up something that we enjoyed as children just because a few nuts claim it as their favorite holiday? Also, as I understand it a “true” Satanist’s holiest day is their own birthday, as they concentrate mostly on self-centeredness or self worship.
2. That Satanists and other nuts run around on Halloween looking for children, virgins and black cats for sacrifice.
Makes for an attention-grabbing headline for The National Inquirer doesn’t it? We hear this stuff every year at Halloween. Just because something gets repeated over and over it does not make it true! I can’t say that it’s never happened, but my opinion is that 99.99% of that is urban legend and hysteria whipped up by the news media. Nearly every Halloween I read some sort of article about a local animal shelter or pet store refusing to adopt or sell black cats at Halloween for fear of them being killed or abused. Is there some statistic that even shows an increase in abductions on Halloween much less ritual abuse and sacrifice? How many actual accounts of poisoned or tainted candy on Halloween have there actually been? Are there evil sick and twisted people in the world? Sure, but they are not the norm. Since their evil deeds make for the best news they get repeated over and over each year. And the sickos don’t come out just on Halloween night, they’re with us all year long.
3. That Halloween is pagan in origin; therefore we shouldn’t celebrate it.
Like almost all ancient holidays Halloween has origins in paganism, As do Christmas trees, the burring of the Yule log, Easter eggs. How many Fundamental Evangelical's skip these trappings of Christmas and Easter. Not Many I’d guess. They’d say that the meanings of these things have changed over the years. And they’d be right. So why are they so concerned with the origins of Halloween traditions? The early Christian church found that when converting large groups of people to Christianity, it was easier to blend some Christian symbolism and significance into festivals that they had been practicing for centuries rather than trying to eliminate the old and supplant the new. All Hallows Eve or Halloween is the day before the Solemnity of All Saints Day that was, and still is celebrated by Catholic Christians on November 1st. While there are many different denominations of Christian churches today that don't make a big deal of All Saints Day, the original Halloween and the following day did have a Christian significance to it. All other Christian denominations may not agree with the Catholic Church, but, like it or not, they originated from Catholic roots.
So, is Halloween evil? Like most other things in life the celebration of Halloween is what you make of it. If its used as an excuse to be violent and cause havoc, then yes it can be bad. I don’t think though that Halloween as its been celebrated through the ages is the cause of society’s ills today. You’ll have to look much deeper to find those. Granted I just might be wrong, but I’d like to think that I’m having fun with family, friends and neighbors and doing some good for my community with my charity haunted house and love for Halloween. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around preparing for and participating in Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. I hope that I’m making some fond childhood memories for kids in my town rather than turning them toward evil.
I don’t mean to offend others who don’t share my viewpoints. If I have, and I probably have, then I wish to apologize. I don’t take issue with people who don’t want to celebrate Halloween. That’s their right and prerogative. The people that really bug me are those who really go out of their way to make children and adults who do enjoy Halloween feel that they are doing something really bad. Is it that their own faith in God is so fragile that they feel threatened and intimidated by something that they have the freedom to not participate in? I pray for those people. I also pray for a greater unity, tolerance and understanding between all Christian denominations. Unfortunately I see most fundamentalist Christians as spending too much time trying to prove that their way is the only one, that they are completely right and all others are patently wrong.
Is Halloween lost? Not yet. Fortunately I still see a lot of fun and generosity in my community during Halloween. It’s a time to reconnect with your childhood. Be a kid again. Holidays like Halloween, Christmas and Easter are what give different generations a common touchstone. They help connect (and re-connect) families, friends, and communities. Happy Halloween and God Bless!
-Copyright 2002 KAH