Today is Halloween, so I’ll make this quick. There are only a few more hours left before this will still be relevant.
Haunted houses. “Trick or treat.” Eggs and toilet paper. Arson. Cavities. Flammable pimp and prostitute costumes for your middle schooler. Saw IV. There are innumerable reasons why this holiday gets to me, and keeps increasing with each passing year. Despite the effort of many Christian communities to put a neutral spin on the holiday, it seems as if the underworld refuses to have their one day of celebration without their trademark chaos, deception, and of course, fear. Nevermind the roots of the holiday, you don’t have to go to Wikipedia to lose your appetite for Halloween. If anything, the lost roots of Halloween have even more enabled all kinds of distortions and elaborate exaggerations of disturbing things that you would never think to endure in any other context. Aside from any kind of religious doctrine or legalism, I feel funny about this holiday.
“What’s the big deal?” is the argument I hear. The mother of all suspect arguments. I’m not a big fan of dragging the demonic into every conversation. I do believe that the majority of our woes are brought on by human action. However if Satan had a license plate, an e-mail signature, or a myspace quote, it would probably be “what’s the big deal?” If you’re trying to defend your point of view, please please come up with something better than this, because this platform should always be proceeded with caution. If we as humans were experts at detecting what should and shouldn’t be a big deal, we would be living on a far better planet with far better people who never said anything hurtful and signaled when they changed lanes.
It might be more fitting to say, “I love Halloween and that’s the end of it. I know there’s something off about it but I bought this really cool pirate outfit and I just can’t get enough candy corn.” Now that rings true, and I would gladly except it. But we as humans tend to make light and happy -even good-some of the things that we like, mainly because we don’t want to be singled out or thought of as bad, confronted with the nature we so obviously have to contend with. So we end up blinding ourselves when all we just need to do is acknowledge the obvious and move on. And of course the opposite applies just as well. I dislike Halloween, not because I’m super holy, but because I hate candy corn, and dressing up just isn’t my bag. It’s just not my kind of holiday.
Denying the true character of the holiday only does more damage. You love Halloween because it means absolutely nothing and it’s mindless? Of course not. Then that would make you dumb, and you’re not dumb. Maybe you like to be scared. Maybe you’re drawn to supernatural elements and this is the only real holiday that thoroughly explores it. Maybe your first kiss was on Halloween. Whatever, everyone is different and their experiences are different, thankfully. It is the heart that counts. This is the essence of what Paul was trying to teach the churches, for those of you quoting him. It is not people’s hearts that I have the trouble with-I have no doubt it’s possible to have the time of your life on any given day, even if it’s during a holiday that celebrates the most negative and depraved parts of the supernatural. And yeah, maybe it is a little warped to determine not to have any fun until a day like that passes. But if people want to sulk in silent protest I suppose that’s fine too.
For Christians, I think we miss out on an opportunity by bickering about Halloween. The reason a Christian can celebrate Halloween joyfully is not because Halloween is okay, but because we have the freedom to do so, not bound by any rules except for golden ones. A freedom given to us by a chosen faith in Christ. So I say by all means, dust off the witches hat. I, for one, will be at home indoors thinking about Thanksgiving and the after-Halloween ½ off candy sale at Walgreens.