Thursday, September 23, 2010

Halloween Hullabaloo Hellfire and Humbugs

What? I like alliteration!  The annual Halloween debates have started (at least on Facebook). 

I always dreaded this time of year.  As a child, we were allowed to participate in Halloween, up to a point.  We always dressed up, sometimes attended parties, and trick-or-treated only in our neighborhood or at the Mall (with a trip to the hospital afterwards to have our candy x-rayed to make sure it didn't have any needles in it!)  When I was in 5th grade my parents had a conversion of sorts to a more conservative brand of Christianity and child-rearing philosophies.  We started homeschooling, only listening to Christian music and being more aware of the spiritual issues around us.  This was when we stopped "doing" Halloween (as best as I remember!)  Mike Warnke (a Christian Comedian and Evangelist) was very popular and told tales of his past as a Satanic high priest.  He asserted that Halloween was the high-holy day for Satanists and many Christians we knew immediately rejected any participation.  Even some churches stopped doing any type of alternative activities.

My husband and I decided early in our marriage that we would not participate in many of the traditional childhood fantasies when we had children.  We don't "do" Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and we don't celebrate Halloween.  The reasoning behind the fictional characters is sound: If we can't see them and we are told they exist, then grow up and find out it was untrue, then how will we be able to believe that Jesus, who we also cannot see, is not also a myth?  We decided that we would be honest and truthful with our kids, while being respectful of other families who did celebrate in more traditional ways (and caution our children to never spoil the fun of their friends who "believe"!)

Halloween was a little more dark (both figuratively and literally).  I do not personally have a problem with fictional literature (I know many well-meaning and convicted Christians who do).  I don't have a problem with make-believe or role-playing.  I don't have a problem with faerie-tales and mythology.  All of those things have been associated with Halloween and sometimes raise objections.

The more serious objection is the origin of Halloween and the observance of it as an occultic holiday.  I do believe that Halloween has it's roots in Druidism, Celtic and Wiccan traditions.  I also believe that the Catholic church sought to transition this into a Christian Celebration by naming November 1st as "All Saint's Day".  These are widely regarded as fact and I'll not belabor the points here (Google if you must!)

My question is: does "celebrating" Halloween make you a bad Christian, dishonor God, or worse yet - set you up as an ally of His enemy Satan.  I don't think it does.  I know plenty of people who celebrate Christmas who are no more Christian than I am a Satanist.  Many people enjoy a good Easter meal and never consider the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  In fact, both of these Christian holidays have pagan roots as well, they have just been more successfully converted to Christianity.  I also know a few devout Christians who refuse to participate in these holidays for the same reasons.  I love and respect them all!

I think that many of the Christians who refuse to celebrate Halloween do so less out of deep personal conviction and more out of a desire to appear holy.  I know, I used to be one!  I wanted others to KNOW that I was serious about my faith, and the serious Christians didn't do Halloween.  It didn't matter that there was no personal conviction behind it. 

I have chosen to look at this day and break it down into the acceptable and non-acceptable (as I understand it and am personally convicted).  For us, this is what Halloween looks like:

Devil, ghoul, witch costumes: out
Nature, character, fantasy costumes: in
Candy: in (except for candy cigarettes - I'm still holding out on that one LOL!)
Decorating for Halloween: out
Decorating for fall/harvest: in
Neighborhood trick-or-treating: out (because of the scary decorations in some places)
Business / Mall trick-or-treating: in
Haunted Houses: what do you think?  LOL: out
Harvest or Hallelujah festivals: in

I do not hold it against my fellow Christians who participate or do not participate.  I certainly don't judge or hold anything against non-believers!

I welcome any respectful commentary, and reserve the right to delete anything that is not :)

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