Happy Halloween! Children and adults will be celebrating tonight all over the globe. Many will celebrate with cute and adorable costumes, as they go door-to-door, threatening to trick you should you choose not to give them a treat; a.k.a. the familiar door greeting, “trick or treat”. Not all costumes, however, will be cute and adorable; some will be scary as “hell”. Today, I find myself wondering, what my response as a Christian, should be towards Halloween.
As a child Halloween was a fun night. I remember being a princess, a hobo, and a clown on several occasions. I loved being a clown. As a child, I tended to be on the serious side, more adult, realistic in my expectations of the world and those around me. The moment I put on those costumes life felt more fun. For me and my family, Halloween was simply a night to dress-up, walk the neighborhood, gathering treats along the way. Then it was hurry home to dump our bags and check out our stash 🙂 I’m not sure it was as much fun for my father, who was the designated walker, or chaperone for the evening; leaving mom at home to hand out the candy to all the boys and girls who came knocking at our door.
Where and how did Halloween originate? Not an easy question to answer, as there seems to be a mixed bag of thoughts on the subject. Some research points to Halloween being part of the All Saints Day celebration. All Saints Day is solemnly celebrated on November 1, by the Catholic Church and several Protestant denominations; a celebration to honor all Saints known and unknown. (I find myself tickled…, how does one honor an unknown Saint?) The liturgical, All Saints Day celebration, begins at Vespers on the evening of October 31st and ends at the close of November 1. Other research points, to the adaptation of Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic Samhain, by Christians. During Samhain, it was believed the spirits, or fairies (Aos Si) could more easily come into our world. Offerings of food and drink were left for them. The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes.” “Mumming and guising were part of the festival, and involved people going door-to-door in costume, (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food.” Samhain (Halloween) is the most coveted sabbat by the Wiccan (and many Pagan) religions.
Countries all over the world celebrate Halloween in a variety of customs, some seemingly harmless. Yet, for many the common denominator appears to revolve around the spirits of the deceased. These celebrations might include séances; assisting the deceased, supposedly stuck in time and space, to “crossover” into eternity; walking graveyards while praying for the dead, etc. On a side note: I was surprised to find that Halloween’s popularity in the U.S gained momentum with the ability to mass produce children’s costumes in the mid 1930’s.
I came across the following Wikipedia reference to Halloween celebrations in Finland “Because so many people visit cemeteries on all Hallows Eve to light candles they are known as valomeri, or seas of light”. Intrigued, I searched further and found nothing. I would enjoy placing flowers and a candle or 2 on a loved one’s grave. Not to raise them, nor to speak to them, or contact them in any way. Simply, as a way to honor their memory, remembering and acknowledging what they meant in my life. Imagine, thousands upon thousands of shimmering votive candles shining in the dark as Christians all around the world gathered together to remember and honor those who made a difference in their lives. Now that would be a way to celebrate on the eve of All Saints Day.
One cannot deny the escalation of occult practices, séances, medium activity, witchcraft, etc. during Halloween week. Not to mention the dastardly deeds done to innocent children by lacing candy with all kinds of horrible things on Halloween. Is this alone enough evidence to say, Halloween is evil? My answer at first glance is a yes, but then I remember times with friends enjoying spiced cider, apple bobbing, pumpkin pie and all-around-clean harmless fun. A time of making memories to cherish for years to come. From this gal’s perspective it boils down to what you do with Halloween and “All Saints Day.” Perhaps, the best guideline for those of us who call ourselves Christian, is to ask the question, “Will the activity I choose to participate in bring honor to the God I serve.” If yes… enjoy… if not, maybe its time to think of a different way to celebrate Halloween.
May I choose to always bring honor to my Lord,
Until next time,
“Keep away from every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (TLB)
Want to know more about Halloween, it’s practices and things that go bump in the night? Do a Google search, there’s a ton of information waiting to be ferreted out.