28 October, 2005

Halloween! For Christians?

Our house closed on September 1, 1999. As soon as most of the boxes (don't look under the basement steps) were unpacked and the place looked halfway decent, I decorated for Halloween. I was so looking forward to having cute kids crying for candy (urgh...too much alliteration). Being a huge candy fan myself, I was also looking forward to having more candy than the kids would take, thus assuring myself of a decent munching supply through Thanksgiving. I spent roughly $30.00 on Halloween candy. I had 4 bags of Milk Duds, 30 Peanut Butter cups and 3 bags of fun-size Milky Way. How do I remember this? Because we had two trick or treaters, and that Halloween candy sat around my house for months--until I was so sick of it that I threw it out. It was in danger of being served to the same two kids the next year.

Friends of ours had candy-loving small children, and I had waited for several hours for their boy and girl to stop by. When they didn't come, I ventured over to find out the whole story. It went something like this....they don't believe in Halloween because it celebrates the Devil and Evil and Satan and Witches. So they had a party at their church. Where the kids came in costume, they handed out candy and there was a play. About the Devil. And Evil. And Satan. And a Witch. So, in summation for the jury...I who have no problem with Halloween as a holiday spent the evening sitting on my front porch dejectedly eating unwanted Reese Cups. Friends of ours who think the whole thing is Satan's Birthday Feast and should be avoided had a giant party featuring Satan himself (albeit in a villainous role). I don't get it. What did I miss?

I've always celebrated Halloween. Cheifly because it is my Dad's birthday, and he loves anything that has anything to do with a holiday, and will walk across broken glass for a candy bar. This man plants a tree every Arbor Day. To have his actual day of birth fall on a holiday wherein candy is prominantly featured is the ultimate example of God 's sense of who His children are. When I went to a Christian School, we didn't celebrate Halloween. We had, conveniently placed at the end of October, a Harvest Festival. Yep. We got candy. We wore costumes. We bobbed for apples and made popcorn balls. There were no witches or ghosts, but we did toast the pumpkin seeds that we all brought in from carving our Jack-O-Lanterns at home. This post-modern Christian approach to Halloween has always left me scratching my head. What are we doing? Do we not believe in it? Then don't have a party. Do we just not want to glorify evil? Then call it Halloween, but don't have witches and devils. If we really are after a strong witness, why don't we reclaim November 1 as All Saints' Day? Or do we not care about the faith enough to celebrate that, but we will have Trunk N Treat in the church parking lot? In High School (back to the same Christian school where I started) I asked a parent volunteer these questions. She told me her personal problem with it is that Hallloween gives Satan an opportunity to have us focus on things that are gruesome--like Dracula and Frankenstein.
This from a religion that tells the children stories where sluts dance nude for their stepfathers and are rewarded with heads on a plate. Yes. We, whose Lord hangs bloodied from a cross, are strangers to the gruesome.

Personally, I'm celebrating Halloween. And I'm calling it "Halloween" while I do.


At 7:21 PM, October 28, 2005, Anonymous Tim W. said...

Hi Katherine,

Yeah--this "Satan's in the henhouse" philosophy whereby on certain days and while performing certain activities one must be extra-guarded against the active influence of "old scratch" is very prevalent down here in the South. Much, much more so than in the North, where I'm from and to where I'll be returning in the next couple of years.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on Halloween.

Our practice of Halloween is far, far from what it was in antiquity. And as far as some people's not wanting to celebrate a holiday on the same day as "pagans," from what I understand Satanists perform their own rituals on Christian holy days. I'm just sayin--IT DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Thanks, Tim

At 11:05 PM, October 28, 2005, Anonymous Lauren-Noelle said...

Yes, and witches are merely Wiccas or Pagans. They're not evil, but they're Christians' true nemeses; the heathens.

Also, the memory of the Salem "Witches" should be honored. Witches should not be referred to as evil in our "enlightened times."

This story was "wack."

I'm glad you celebrate Halloween, or Hallowe'en, (or Samhain) and at least you got to enjoy the fun of it as a child. Happy Birthday to all the Birthdays boys and girls, this week!

At 11:31 AM, October 30, 2005, Blogger Lee said...

I've always wondered about those who don't want to celebrate Halloween because of its 'pagan' roots, but have no problem celebrating the winter solstice. Oh, excuse me, Christmas.

Or a sexually driven fertility festival. Oh, excuse me, Easter. Based on the Roman festival Easturnus (sp?), it celebrated the spring and featured such fertility symbols as THE EGG, and RABBITS.

That's right, the same people who have a problem with Halloween will with no irony have their kids revel in sexuality, giving them Easter Eggs and having them visit the Easter Bunny at the Mall.


At 5:43 PM, November 04, 2005, Blogger TVonthefritz said...

What happened to you?

At 5:44 PM, November 04, 2005, Blogger TVonthefritz said...

It's Nov. 4.

At 4:16 PM, November 06, 2005, Anonymous Roger Abramson said...

Thank you Catherine for presenting some common sense about the fairly harmless holiday that is Halloween, which can be celebrated in all number of ways, very very few of which will bring them into comunnion with Screwtape, the Evil One or whatever we wish to call him. People who get bent out of shape about Halloween are the sorts of people who, as the syaing goes, are in constant worry that someone somewhere might be having a good time.

At 5:34 PM, October 30, 2006, Blogger Loonytick Skook said...

While Harvest/Fall Festivals as a Halloween alternative are started by people afraid of an "evil" holiday, and certainly a percentage of those who attend agree, I think the bulk of those drawn to them just find them practical.

Quite frankly, in many neighborhoods there's just no point to going trick or treating, so few people are handing out candy these days. Now, Halloween is far from my favorite holiday (even as a kid I found it underwhelming-the costume part was fun, but to me the begging strangers for food felt more demeaning than entertaining), but I certainly take my kids trick or treating. We've found out the hard way that if we stay near our home we can walk four blocks and find maybe five houses with candy. It's no fun, especially with my four year old, to have to keep saying "No honey, that house has all it's lights out, so I don't think it's worth trying there," and "Sweetie, you've rung the doorbell twice and they didn't answer, despite having left the porch light on. It's time to try another house." We usually end up driving to other neighborhoods to visit the houses of friends we know will be giving out candy, which is also a pain in the neck. It almost makes me wish we went to an evangelical, scared of Halloween church that threw a party for us to go to instead.


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