Along with October, there comes a flood of well-meaning Christians that feel for one reason or another that Halloween is wrong. I have been a victim of these folks off and on for one reason or another, and I even briefly considered joining their cause once upon a time. However, I believe it is my duty, in the mighty Political Jesus style, to right the wrongs that have been inflicted on this, the most saccharine of holidays.
So what do people say is the problem with Halloween? I was tempted to say that there were two camps, those who had reasonable reasons not to like Halloween, and those that have less reasonable reasons. After reviewing the facts, I have changed my categorization to one category, consisting of Unreasonable Reasons that Halloween is Bad:
Toward an Understanding of the Unreasonable Reasons that Halloween is Bad:
1st Unreasonable Reason that Halloween is Bad: It is the Devil’s birthday.
I kid you not, this is a reason. Let’s pretend that for a second, we are all Bible literalists. Then, let us pretend that your literal reading of the Bible steers you toward believing that the Devil actually had a mother, which gave birth to him in the way humans do. Then let us assume, that from somewhere, you got the idea that this happened on a specific day. Then, let us assume that you believe this all happened before God created the world, so that Satan could be ready to trick those newly formed humans in the form of a snake. Now you are stuck. Because, aside from having absolutely ZERO evidence to substantiate your claim, you are stuck dating the Devil’s birthday on October 31st, even though there was no world, no seasons, no sun, no moon, nor anything else in all creation that could have kept the days ordered so that anyone would know what day the devil was born. However, according to many Muslim radicals, the devil was born on 7/4/1776.
2nd Unreasonable Reason Not to Like Halloween: It started off as a Pagan holiday.
This one is actually funny. It wasn’t. Certainly there were those in Scottland, Wales, and Ireland that celebrated Samhain (pronounced sow-an). That isn’t debated. But it had nothing to do with demons, the dead, monsters, witches, or anything like that. The words simply meant “summer’s end.” It was simply the local celebration of the typical harvest festival, celebrated by nearly the entire known world. It was just a festive time. Every reference we have to Samhain as a festival of the dead comes from Irish monks, 200 years after the Church made it an official Catholic holiday. This was 400 years after the nation had been Christianized! Don’t you see? This is actually one of the only ones we can claim as our own!
3rd Unreasonable Reason Not to Like Halloween: Jack-O-Lanterns and trick-or-treating is pagan idolotry.
Wrong again. Jack-o-Lanterns are an Americanized version of the Irish and Scottish (and very Christian) practice of “souling.” Souling was when a turnip was carved and lit from the inside to remember those souls who were in purgatory. While you may disagree with the theology a bit, there is certainly nothing wrong with remembering the dead. We do this all the time. Plus, this practice was not even connected with Halloween until Americans started doing it around the mid 19th century.
Trick-or-Treating also goes back to the middle ages, not to pre-Christian druidism. It started on All Saint’s Day (ours!) and was the practice of POOR CHILDREN going door to door, asking for gifts of food in exchange FOR PRAYER. Soon, people began preparing for these children, and mischievous kids decided to prank those who would not be generous. Nothing evil here. Just good youth group kids.
4th Unreasonable Reason Not to Like Halloween: Dressing up like evil creatures is consorting with the occult.
The practice of “guising” as it was called, started in Scottland, in the late 1890′s. By which time, Scotland was firmly Christian. Children were beginning to dress up on their typical All Saint’s day routine. Scary costumes are an American invention, popularized by the Universal Monster movies. Not by Satan.
Certainly there have been other practices which are associated with Halloween, but these are varied by individual participants and not hardly universal in the participation of Halloween.
If you are anything like me, Halloween was the one single time that everyone in your neighborhood got out of their homes and walked around, interacting with each other. That seems to me to be awfully Christian. Nowadays, many Christians protest Halloween, by retreating to their own churches. They retreat to their own churches on the ONE DAY that every person in their neighborhood comes to their door. And what do they find? Not welcoming, warm faces. They find the empty, dark homes of families who have forsaken their local communities in favor of drawing a sharp distinction between them.
If you really want to honor God this season, you may want to consider apologizing for spreading non-truth about Halloween. Then, you might consider, instead of running toward the Christian huddle that you were going to go to (Fall Festival, Trunk-or-Treat, or… Jesus-Ween…), and instead stay home, decorate your place to attract youngsters, and prove Jesus’ love to the world by giving away the best treats this year.
If you can’t even love those who come to your house once a year asking for it, how can you love the world enough to change it? Cuz, you know, that is what being a follower of Jesus means.