Those of us who grew up in a conservative religious background know what I’m talking about when I say that Halloween has caused a fair share of confusion. Everything involving magic or witches or werewolves was evil (look for another post to come on magic). Everything that wasn’t obviously biblical was condemned. Some of us didn’t even listen to secular music until we gained some level of teenage independence.
I don’t agree with the blind avoidance and condemnation of all things non-biblical. Blind, unquestioned doctrine is what causes religious splintering and cults to grow. God gave us minds to use, not to waste. I cannot blanketly label some acts sin unless they are called such in Scripture. At the same time, I do not give myself free license to do all the hundreds and thousands of things not mentioned as sin in Scripture strictly because they are not listed. For one, technology is not what it once was, so there are infinitely more choices each person must face on a daily basis. Halloween is not one of those things I feel 100% concerned about.
Honestly, I don’t celebrate it. I also don’t have kids, which my best friend insists will completely transform my opinion of the holiday. Maybe. Or maybe he just means that it’s hard to say no to one’s children when all the other kids are dressing up in cool costumes and getting free candy. Even so, I doubt I will celebrate Halloween simply because of the fact that it is at least partly a celebration of horror, death, and fear. Honestly, I’m not a big holiday person. I hate the commercialism driving our society’s famous celebrations.
Whoever chose the Valentine’s Day colors has no sense of taste, and did not understand or care that the popularization of such a holiday would reduce gift giving to a shame-based obligation (i.e. only bad boyfriends/husbands don’t give gifts on this day). Christmas is little better. Santa Claus is a famous figure because he instills gift-lust in all children, young and old. Persistent begging leads to parental resignation, thus equalling increased spending. Not only is the time of greatest annual greed, someone thought it was worth lying to children about the existence of this mythical character just to induce them to be good (i.e. capitalizing on poor parenting skills). Thanksgiving should be renamed Gluttons Day (or Dallas Cowboys Day). This holiday at least centers around giving thanks, so I must commend it for being the least self-centered (at least originally).
Then there’s Halloween. All Saints Day (November 1st) is historically the day where Roman Catholics Episcopalians, and Lutherans used to honor all saints, whether known or unknown. The Irish, Scotts, Welsh, and others celebrated the eve of All Saints and called it Samhain, Calan Gaeaf, Allantide, or Hop-tu-Naa. This was a druidic celebration, thought to be a time of year when spirits could make contact with the physical world. Magic was also considered the most potent on this day. Those are the roots of Halloween.
True, you don’t hear so much about these roots in our commercialized American Halloween celebrations. But you still see the influence. It is still the day where people celebrate misery, death, disfigurement, decay, horror, darkness and fear. Some dress up in nice pretty costumes or something more artistic, but it is, in a sense, the day of Horror film celebration. Do I condemn little children for wanting to wear cool costumes and get free candy? Not in the least. Do I consider it a waste of a holiday? Absolutely. I plan on creating family holidays for my children whereby they learn to appreciate and celebrate life. Costumes included.