“Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” You don’t see many of those signs up for Halloween.
That’s because it isn’t a Christian holiday. So why are we celebrating it?
There remains a strong undercurrent of Christian opposition to Halloween. Many evangelical Christians view it as just plain evil because of its pagan origins. It is true that Halloween has pagan origins but unpacking the history of Halloween is like trying to unpack the history of America.
There is no straight line from its origins to its current expression. Like all holidays, Halloween has evolved over time and is still evolving today.
One thing for sure is: Halloween is not evil.
Here’s a couple of reasons why I think it is not only appropriate but a really good idea to celebrate Halloween:
- It is a great opportunity for community building. When our kids were little we would take them around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. It was one of the few times that we connected with the people in our neighborhood. Especially in this time of pandemic, we need every opportunity to safely interact with people we don’t necessarily know so well.
- The fact that Halloween is not Christian-based is a great opportunity to talk with kids about other religions and cultures. You don’t need to create a full-on lecture, but it wouldn’t hurt to look into and explain why we do what we do around Halloween. You will find that nearly every culture has some equivalent way of collectively confronting their fears of the unknown.
- Halloween can be scary because it is about demons, death and the like. From a faith perspective, it is important to remember the demons, for example, make frequent appearances in the life of Jesus. He regularly confronts them and calls them out. He has power over them. Death is also a prominent feature of both scripture and Christian ritual. In other words, Christianity doesn’t hide from the “dark side” of anything. The bottom line is that our faith teaches us that, through Christ, we are freed from our fear of these things. We are “children of the light” and can, therefore, feel free to have some fun with something that no longer holds us.
Every holiday is influenced by many things. Don’t forget that Christmas and Easter traditions have very strong pagan aspects to them and we have no trouble celebrating those.
What is important is that we consider what holidays like Halloween invite us to think about and how our faith might be enriched and clarified by the encounter.
See you in church,