What about Halloween?

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We went to church with a dinosaur this morning; a bright orange Tyrannosaurus Rex named Sam! To the left of us, there were two little pumpkins and to the right, a ladybug and a monkey. A spotted leopard sat in front of us and as I looked around the sanctuary I spotted a ballet dancer, a fireman, a pirate, and a clown. R2-D2 and Princess Leia were there too but there were no witches, ghosts or ghouls. “Let’s be more creative than that,” parents at Cap Church were told last Sunday when it was announced that the Cap kids could wear their Halloween costumes to church today.

Whether or not we should participate in Halloween has become a great debate within the Christian church. There is no doubt that the celebration has its roots in ancient pagan rites and superstitions and it’s also a holy day for those who practice Wicca, a modern religious cult that engages in witchcraft. For most people, however, Halloween is simply a secular day of fun. It has religious significance only to those who give it religious significance. To my mind, if some people feel uncomfortable participating in Halloween activities, then they should refrain from doing so but the rest of us should simply be discerning and avoid those activities that might detract from our Christian witness. It also behooves us to avoid judging those who make decisions different from our own.

Personally, I applaud the approach taken by Cap Church. In an article published in recent church bulletins, Pastor Emeritus, Paddy Ducklow, wrote about what he called “the issue of how our faith impacts our culture and neighbourhood, or how surrounding values harm our kids.” He wrote first of safety, urging parents to teach their children how to be safe in an unsafe world. He also advised them to show the closeness and care of God by being with their children. He encouraged Christian men to exhibit a “father’s heart” during a potentially scary time by going door to door with their children as they trick-or-treat. He recommended that parents use Halloween as an opportunity to help their children make righteous choices, staying away from images of witchcraft, death and violence. I especially appreciated his recommendation that parents make Halloween an opportunity to know and enjoy their neighbours. Rather than being aloof, avoiding contact with our neighbourhood on a night when many are out and about having fun, Halloween is a great opportunity to engage with them.

I would love to know where you stand on this contentious topic. If you do choose to comment, however, please show respect for those who express an opinion different from your own. I’d love to see a lively conversation develop but no personal attacks.

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10 thoughts on “What about Halloween?

  1. I have just read your recent post on Hallowe’en, Elaine. I almost did not respond and the reason for almost not responding? I agreed with what you had written! Your blog is well thought out and beautifully articulated. I so enjoyed the emphasis on the positive and the encouragement to parents to be involved and creative with their children whilst being discerning and non judgemental with those who celebrate Hallowe’en differently. Wise words from you, Elaine!

    Maureen xox

  2. I agree completely, but find it hard not to be a little bitter when we’re forced to live next door to a gruesome cemetary display that practically spills over onto our lawn. It has been difficult to graciously explain the display to my impressionable 3 and 5 year old children. Even less impressive is their open excitement at the prospect of intentionally frightening innoccent trick or treaters!! They assure me they only target older children, but I simply can’t see how that makes it any more acceptable or helps to nourish healthy neighbourhood relations. Regardless, my children and their friends on the block are all excited to carve pumpkins and trick or treat, and us parents and other neighbours are excited to see them all in their adorable costumes!

    • I certainly don’t condone attitudes and displays of that nature! It sounds like you’ve had an opportunity to express your concern to the neighbours. Hopefully you’ve given them food for thought. I’m also confident that you’ll do a good job of explaining to the children why we don’t think something like that is acceptable.

  3. Well said, Elaine. I don’t like Hallowe’en, mainly because of the gruesome displays all over town and the emphasis on the demonic that excites children and adults alike. When we were little kids, we dressed up and drove into the little village where in some houses we had to sing Jesus Loves Me or some other Sunday School type song to get our treats. Even when our kids were that age, it wasn’t like it is now – just fun. I believe we really need to pray for the protection of kids going out these days, because there is definitely demonic activity going on Hallowe’en night.

    • Sadly, there’s a lot of evil in the world around us and not only at Halloween. I agree that we need to pray and also do what we can to provide a wholesome example to those in our own neighbourhoods.

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